The European Union won’t recommend that any nations ban Huawei from being involved in their 5G rollouts, according to new guidelines.
European Digital Commissioner, Thierry Breton, told a Paris news conference on Monday that new guidelines will be “naturally strict and vigilant”. They are expected to be unveiled at the end of January (via Bloomberg).
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However, the news that the EU doesn’t agree with US’ calls for Huawei to be shut out is fantastic news for the under-fire Chinese firm. It is already heavily involved in the European rollout of 5G services, despite ongoing debate surrounding potential security concerns.
So, what could this mean for your access to 5G? Potentially, this could mean Huawei gets to work on expanding networks sooner but, given our impending exit from the European Union, this decision does not make the UK’s plans too much clearer. It does offer another precedent though, with the EU’s decision representing another important voice not aligned against the Chinese company.
The UK is set to make its own decision later this month on whether or not Huawei Technologies will be involved in the construction of the nation’s 5G network. When this decision is made, we will have a better idea of when we can expect to have a readily available 5G network for most device users.
US officials argue that, because the network is obliged by Chinese law to disclose information to the Chinese government when asked, it represents a threat to the nations cyber security. They’ve gone as far as saying that involving Huawei would be “nothing short of madness” but MI5 chief Andrew Parker disagreed, saying there was “no reason today to think that” Huawei’s involvement would compromise UK cyber security.
The EU’s decision to draw policy lines on the issue is seemingly designed to stop individual nations from worrying about angering China or the US. Instead, the EU may seek to become the point of contact for the ongoing controversy.
Both China and the US have shown some level of willingness to strong-arm nations into their way of thinking. Bloomberg reported on Chinese attempts to influence the situation, when the Chinese Ambassador to Germany, Wu Ken, said:“If Germany were to take a decision that leads to Huawei’s exclusion from the German market, there will be consequences … The Chinese government will not stand idly by.”
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Similarly the US has said it will be forced to re-evaluate intelligence sharing with nations who use Huawei networking technology.