Jan 28, 2020 - Technology

U.K. allows Huawei to build part of 5G network

Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Jan. 27. Photo: Daniel Leal-Olivas-WPA Pool/Getty Images

The United Kingdom on Tuesday announced Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei will build part of the country's next generation 5G mobile networks.

Why it matters: The United States along with numerous Conservative MPs have repeatedly warned the U.K. that Huawei is a national security risk, claiming that China could use its equipment for espionage. It's a sign the U.S. campaign against Huawei is faltering as allies open their markets.

Details: The U.K. government said Huawei will have access to "non-core" parts of the country's network but will be banned from "sensitive locations" such as military or nuclear sites.

  • Huawei’s overall share of U.K.'s 5G market will be capped at 35%. The cap will also "be kept under review to determine whether it should be further reduced as the market diversifies," the government said.

The big picture: Axios' Jonathan Swan reports that the decision could lead to the U.S. government curtailing the intelligence it shares with its closest ally.

  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday said he would never jeopardize Britain’s security relationships, the Telegraph reports.

What they're saying: A senior Trump administration official told Axios' Jonathan Swan, "The United States is disappointed by the U.K.'s decision. There is no safe option for untrusted vendors to control any part of a 5G network."

  • "We look forward to working with the U.K. on a way forward that results in the exclusion of untrusted vendor components from 5G networks. We continue to urge all countries to carefully assess the long-term national security and economic impacts of allowing untrusted vendors access to important 5G network infrastructure."

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