Huawei granted partial access to UK telecoms infrastructure

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Theresa May has signed off on a deal that will grant Huawei partial access to the UK's critical 5G infrastructure, despite growing fears around the company's security practices.

The partial access entails awarding the company contracts to supply non-core elements of the overall infrastructure such as antennas and network components, according to The Telegraph.

Mrs May who chairs the National Security Council along with the Council's members agreed on Tuesday to allow the company, which produces some of the best, albeit allegedly dodgy telecoms equipment, to provide some of its market-leading tech to the UK. This arguably shows that the company's offerings are too good to turn down entirely.

The results of a six-month review of the UK's telecoms suppliers were submitted to the National Security Council on Tuesday but Bloomberg sources say that Mrs May has already agreed to the proposal before the results have been fully reviewed and an official announcement has been made.

GCHQ's National Cyber Security Centre's official stance on the matter is that the risks presented by Huawei are real, but manageable - unlike the official stances of the US and Australia which both banned the company from supplying technology entirely.

The announcement made today precedes the opening of the CyberUK conference in Glasgow where GCHQ boss Jeremy Fleming is expected to field a barrage of questions following the announcement.

Huawei said that it's waiting for an official government announcement on the matter but "pleased that the UK is continuing to take an evidence-based approach to its work, and we will continue to work cooperatively with the government, and the industry".

Nations are divided on the matter of allowing Huawei into their country and those inside the British government also seem divided despite the official stance of GCHQ.

Tom Tugendhat, foreign affairs committee chairman tweeted a strong indication of his views on the matter and noted "there's a reason others have said no".

During the CyberUK conference this week, the once entirely secret Five Eyes alliance formed of security officials representing the UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand will deliver a public panel discussion on the topic of security which will serve as another opportunity for people to interrogate them on the UK ruling.

The owners of the EE mobile network BT Group Plc announced in December that it would pull all Huawei equipment out of the nation's most popular carrier network within two years following a review of the tech's security so it will be interesting to see if the telco reneges on this and goes for the new partial allowance.

Huawei announced yesterday some very successful numbers in its quarterly revenue report and in our write-up we weighed the thinking around the security threat the company presents and the evidence or lack thereof, that nations are using to base their official stances on.

Connor Jones

Connor Jones has been at the forefront of global cyber security news coverage for the past few years, breaking developments on major stories such as LockBit’s ransomware attack on Royal Mail International, and many others. He has also made sporadic appearances on the ITPro Podcast discussing topics from home desk setups all the way to hacking systems using prosthetic limbs. He has a master’s degree in Magazine Journalism from the University of Sheffield, and has previously written for the likes of Red Bull Esports and UNILAD tech during his career that started in 2015.