Technology

MPs to question Huawei over 5G security

By Alexander J Martin, technology reporter

MPs will question Chinese telecoms giant Huawei on Monday as part of a parliamentary inquiry into security risks around 5G.

The science and technology committee is investigating what dangers the next generation of mobile networking equipment could pose to the UK.

American officials have warned that Huawei equipment could be exploited by Beijing for espionage or sabotage purposes – and have called for it to be banned in the face of such risks.

A leak from a National Security Council meeting in April suggested that Theresa May had approved Huawei's bid to help build Britain's 5G network.

But the government has since said no decision has been taken on whether the Chinese company, which is facing significant sanctions in the US, can play a role in UK networks.

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Also appearing before the committee on Monday are a number of academics and representatives from four of the largest telecoms companies in the UK.

The chief technology officers of O2, Three and Vodafone will be joined by the director of policy and public affairs for BT Group.

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British-owned Vodafone, Spanish-owned O2 and Chinese-owned Three have significant exposure to Huawei equipment in their networks, as does BT although it has not installed any in its core network ahead of its 5G roll-out.

A UK government ban on including any Huawei kit in telecoms infrastructure is expected to delay the rollout of 5G considerably, potentially leaving the country at a competitive disadvantage.

The sanctions in the US have also had a huge impact on American companies which provide software and other technology as part of Huawei's consumer business.

Google said it is revoking Huawei's access to its Android mobile operating system to comply with the White House sanctions, leaving the company's new phones without any software to power them.

Microsoft, Facebook and chip-designing firm Arm have also suggested they would no longer work with Huawei due to the sanctions.

Sky News

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