A POST-PANDEMIC CHANGE
The UK government has received a dose of threat from China government after disclosing its intention to ban Huawei from the earlier approved 5G roll-out, and may also look to remove the company’s existing 3G and 4G infrastructure from the UK network entirely.
Just before the Coronavirus became a global pandemic, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made the decision to have UK Parliament allow Huawei to build part of the country’s 5G network.
Although the Chinese telecommunications company was restricted from operating at the “core” of the country’s network and sensitive sites such as nuclear and military facilities, Huawei’s 5G infrastructure roll-out in the UK still faced criticism from prominent Brits and the U.S. government, before and after the approval.
What seem to be the post-pandemic era for the UK, has been launched with a change in decision that sets everything about Huawei on a course to change.
Boris started with the reversal of the decision to allow Huawei take part in the deployment of 5G infrastructure in the country. The move further has the potential of removing the company’s existing 3G and 4G infrastructure from UK’s network in the next 3 years.
According to The Telegraph, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has instructed officials to draw up plans to bring Huawei’s involvement in the country’s telecommunications infrastructure down to zero by 2023.
As a warning for retaliation, China’s ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming, has privately sent the warning signal to the government, telling business leaders that abandoning Huawei could undermine plans for Chinese companies to build nuclear power plants and the HS2 high-speed rail network in the UK.
It was also reported that in a recent briefing, Liu signaled that the decision over Huawei was being seen in Beijing as “a litmus test of whether Britain is a true and faithful partner of China.”
Some of the claims that may have influenced Boris new decision include the accusation that China is hacking US Covid-19 research institutes, soundings from his own party Members of Parliament (Conservative MPs), and that China could be trying to leverage an economic advantage from the COVID-19 crisis.
The possibility of getting Huawei infrastructure out of UK’s network in 2023 will be a difficult and expensive process, as the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport estimates Huawei’s current share of the 4G market at 35 percent.