Tuesday 11 June 2019 10:49 am

UK mobile operators urge government to clarify position on Huawei

The UK must clarify its position on Chinese tech firm Huawei or risk losing its position as a world leader in the telecoms market, mobile operators will warn.

In a letter to cabinet secretary Mark Sedwill, seen by the BBC, the firms will urge the government to reach a decision on whether or not Huawei equipment will be permitted in the UK’s 5G network.

Read more: Huawei does not make ethical judgements, says cybersecurity boss

The operators will warn that they cannot invest in infrastructure while uncertainty over the use of Chinese technology persists.

The letter, which could be sent as early as this week, will also ask for an urgent meeting between industry leaders and the government, according to the report.

Details leaked from a national security meeting earlier this year revealed the UK was considering allowing Huawei to participate in non-core parts of the country’s 5G network.

But the government has not confirmed these reports and has said it will issue its verdict in an upcoming telecoms supply chain review.

This is in contrast with the US, which has added Huawei to a trade blacklist and urged its allies to follow suit amid concerns the firm’s equipment may be used as a vehicle for state-sponsored spying.

The move, which marked an escalation in trade tensions between the US and China, has sent shockwaves through the supply chain, as a string of tech firms have suspended trading with the Chinese company.

In addition, both EE and Vodafone have delayed the launch of 5G-enabled Huawei smartphones amid uncertainty over the UK’s position towards the firm.

Read more: Trump ‘could ease’ restrictions on Huawei if trade talks advance

A government spokesperson said: “The security and resilience of the UK’s telecoms networks is of paramount importance.

“We have robust procedures in place to manage risks to national security and are committed to the highest possible security standards.”