A new ban may prevent Huawei from getting involved in 5G build-outs in the UK after all, reports indicate. The latest proposal, sources indicate, would see new 5G equipment from the company blocked outright. And it would accelerate the removal of Huawei 5G equipment in place in the UK under what is effectively a ban.
Current UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, will reportedly receive a new report outlining the proposal within the week. Reports indicate that Mr. Johnson will need to present the review to Parliament by the end of the month. A decision in the matter should be made in short order after that if the reports are accurate.
Huawei can't catch a break on 5G, even in the UK
Now, the latest reports follow months of preceding news about 5G in the UK as it pertains to Huawei. The company has faced global challenges from its smartphone supply chain to its 5G rollouts as a direct result of US sanctions. And those appear to be central to the proposed Huawei 5G ban in the UK as well.
Prior to this, the country's leadership had determined that with some limits, the world's largest 5G equipment supplier could be involved. Back in January, that decision was officially supported by the EU, with the European conglomerate delivering a set of guidelines that could help keep UK networks safe from potential Chinese government spying.
Since that decision was reached, support for Huawei's position in the UK has wavered significantly. But it may actually be US sanctions that are doing the most harm here. That's because it's those sanctions that have caused the UK's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) to reconsider. With the sanctions in place, as noted above, Huawei's supply lines have effectively been cut.
The agency reportedly 'revised' its previous guidance based on the fact that, with supply lines cut off, Huawei would need to turn to "untrusted" technology and relatively unknown companies. Or at least companies that are largely unknown outside of China.
That would, in turn, make the risks impossible for the UK government to manage. And that may not be wholly inaccurate since Chinese law reportedly requires companies to cooperate. Other reports have indicated that Huawei may be able to build up a new supply chain with the likes of MediaTek and Samsung. But the company may otherwise be forced to turn to companies that are largely Chinese.
What is Huawei doing to defend itself?
Aside from turning inward and working to build up new supply chains as well as innovate with in-house solutions, Huawei has broadly denied all claims against it. Not only does the company not work for the Chinese government, according to Huawei. It also claims the sanctions and other actions taken against it are almost entirely political.
That's been denied wholesale by Huawei's detractors, who claim that there is very little if any politics involved. Regardless of whether it's the official US policy, the present US administration has repeatedly used Huawei as a bargaining chip in ongoing trade disputes between Washington and Beijing.
Huawei has also begun working more closely with countries in a bid to stem the flow of accusations. Among the most recent of those, it was granted permission to build a chipset facility in the region. But that appears to have done little, if anything, to help the company.