Britain consults Japan on how to fill Huawei vacuum
THE Government has asked Japan for its help in finding potential alternatives to Huawei equipment in the UK’s 5G networks after it ordered telecoms businesses to strip out all kit made by the Chinese firm by the end of 2027.
British officials last week held talks in Tokyo about the future of the UK’s 5G networks, Nikkei reported.
Japanese businesses NEC and Fujitsu have reportedly been considered as new sources of 5G equipment.
The UK’s intelligence services have for years expressed concern that the handful of businesses capable of supplying crucial 5G equipment could become an issue for the country’s telecoms businesses.
Ian Levy, the technical director of the National Cyber Security Centre, called the market for 5G hardware “fundamentally broken” in a conference talk last year.
European suppliers Ericsson and Nokia have said they’re prepared to work with telecoms businesses in the UK to replace Huawei equipment.
An emergency review carried out by the NCSC into new US sanctions which are set to be introduced in September concluded that restrictions on Huawei’s use of American products and services could lead to supply disruptions for its customers.
Boris Johnson told The Sunday Telegraph last week that the Government will seek to work with allied nations as it seeks to find other suppliers for 5G equipment.
“Let’s start doing some of this stuff ourselves, working with ... likeminded countries, and getting the stuff installed,” he said. “The potential is enormous, whether it’s 5G or full fibre or gigabit or superfast broadband, the UK can really excel in all those.”
The Government has also publicly backed the development of “open source” 5G projects, such as OpenRAN, which are seeking to develop standardised telecoms kit that could be manufactured by a large number of suppliers.
Oliver Dowden, the Culture Secretary, told the Commons following his announcement of a Huawei ban that “the future... is an OpenRAN network”.