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Johnson defies US

Huawei given go-ahead for limited role in UK’s 5G network

Huawei will be excluded from parts of the network (pic: Terry Murden)

Chinese mobile phones network Huawei will be allowed to work on Britain’s 5G networks – but with restrictions aimed at appeasing US ‘spying’ concerns.

The firm will be banned from supplying it equipment to “sensitive parts” of the network, known as the core, and its market share will be capped at 35%. The cap will be applied to the 5G and full-fibre network.

Huawei will be excluded entirely from locations close to military bases and nuclear sites.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson found himself caught between conflicting demands from the US and China with both issuing warnings about the consequences of Britain’s decision.

The US and some Conservative MPs called for a total block on the Chinese tech giant on the grounds of national security, while Beijing warned the UK there could be “substantial” repercussions to other trade and investment plans had the company been banned outright.

Mr Johnson will meet Trump’s secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, on Thursday when he will outline the reasons behind the decision.

UK government officials feared banning Huawei could have delayed Britain’s 5G rollout by up to three years, increasing the cost to consumers, and denting economic growth.

The company appeared to be satisfied with the compromise that has been offered.

Huawei’s UK chief Victor Zhang said in a statement: “Huawei is reassured by the UK government’s confirmation that we can continue working with our customers to keep the 5G roll-out on track.

“It gives the UK access to world-leading technology and ensures a competitive market.”

Matthew Fell, CBI chief UK policy director, said: “It’s right that the Government took its time to assess the merits of Huawei’s involvement in the UK’s 5G network. This solution appears a sensible compromise that gives the UK access to cutting-edge technology, whilst building in appropriate checks and balances around security.

“5G is a technology that will transform lives, businesses and reinvigorate the UK’s digital infrastructure. It has the potential to add real economic value to all parts of country and end the digital divide which holds too many rural areas back.”

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