Bri­tain con­sults Japan on how to fill Huawei vac­uum

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By James Cook

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”.

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