Huawei celebrates 5G contracts while the US continues to pressure UK

  • Huawei is celebrating reaching 91 commercial 5G contracts worldwide, including 47 in Europe. The US is continuing to pressure the UK into changing its decision about using the firm.

    Stop me if it feels like you've read this story before: The US has placed renewed pressure on the UK Government to exclude Huawei from supplying equipment to its 5G network infrastructure, but the UK's position remains unchanged. This conflict did rounds in the global tech media multiple times throughout 2019 and this January, and it appears that the saga is far from over.

    Huawei is one of several major manufacturers of 5G network infrastructure such as radio antennas, joining Nokia, Ericsson, and Samsung. The ongoing global rollout of the 5G network will require considerable infrastructure development as the antennas must be placed much closer together than with existing 4G systems, and the Chinese telecoms giant has been bidding for contracts to supply the equipment.

    The US government banned Hiawei from supplying equipment to its 5G network and has been pressuring other world governments to do the same, citing the potential risk that Huawei could be compelled to provide back-door access to the Chinese government. The UK government's official decision on the matter was delayed by Brexit, but the decision was eventually reached to allow Huawei to supply non-core technologies for the network.

    At an event this week, Huawei celebrated the increase in contracts that the decision had brought, increasing from 65 contracts in December to 91 contracts today (47 of which are in Europe). The company's founder Ren Zheng Fei has also reportedly given the firm's R&D team a goal of reducing the weight of their 5G antennas from 45kg to 25kg with the goal of making them easy to install without a crane or specialised equipment.

    The US is continuing to put pressure on the UK to change its mind regarding Huawei's participation in the 5G network, with White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney appearing in Downing Street this week to discuss the matter. While the UK government's position on the matter has not changed as a result of the dicussions, they were reportedly described as constructive. The UK has already imposed restrictions on the extent of Huawei's involvement and designated it as "high-risk vendor" but the US continues to push for further action.

    Source: BBC News

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    Brendan is a Sync NI writer with a special interest in the gaming sector, programming, emerging technology, and physics. To connect with Brendan, feel free to send him an email or follow him on Twitter.

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