The UK has voiced frustration over the US failure to suggest a back-up plan that would allow Britain to avoid using Huawei technology in would-be 5G phone networks.
“The point is that the US has no plan B”, a Whitehall source complained, as cited by The Guardian, lamenting that when grilled on whether the US has any alternative on its hands, they respond that “they don’t have one”, despite vehemently lobbying against Huawei’s 5G.
Earlier this week, UK PM Boris Johnson openly welcomed Washington to come up with an alternative to the Chinese telecom giant, the leading and cheapest equipment to date, adding, though, that he would prefer not to cast doubt on Britain’s ties with US intelligence:
“Let’s be clear, I don’t want, as the UK prime minister, to put in any infrastructure that is going to prejudice our national security or our ability to cooperate with Five Eyes intelligence partners [the UK, Canada, the US, New Zealand and Australia]”.
He hailed the potential – and well-deserved – access for Britons to “the best possible technology”, expressing determination to introduce gigabit broadband for everybody in the country.
On Monday, US officials came to Britain to demand that the country backtrack on its initial plan to allow Huawei to supply a number of non-core 5G elements to their tech market, with the US side citing fresh information about the security hazards that the use of Huawei equipment allegedly entails.
However, shortly afterwards, Britain weighed in on the debate, saying that technical warnings to this end are nothing new.
“We’d already anticipated the kind of threat that the US material demonstrates and factored that into our planning”, a British official said at the time.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is currently also deeply engaged in talks back home over whether Germany will allow Huawei’s 5G equipment into the country’s domestic market.
Although the chancellor earlier argued that no entity should be automatically excluded from competition with regard to Germany’s nascent 5G network, she has of late faced resistance from members of her own party.
In the meantime, a number of countries, like Australia and Japan, have already implemented a ban on Huawei, giving in to Washington’s warnings.
Huawei retains the status of being the world’s top provider of the cutting-edge equipment, especially in terms of value for money, otherwise rivalled by Nokia of Finland, Ericsson of Sweden, and the US’ Apple.
However, President Trump has long urged the US’ European and other allies to cut ties with the company, and even blacklisted entities that deal with Huawei back home, on grounds that the company is allegedly a blatant threat to national security acting at Beijing’s behest – the claims both the Chinese government and the Huawei board have repeatedly denied, contending the technology that the company uses is absolutely transparent.