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Gloucestershire Business News

Chinese firm to have limited role in UK 5G networks

The UK will allow Chinese firm Huawei to continue to be used in its 5G networks, despite US pressure to block the company.

Huawei will be banned from supplying kit to sensitive parts of the network, known as the core. And it will only be allowed to account for 35 per cent of the kit in a network, which includes radio masts, as reported by the BBC.

The firm will also be banned from operating near military bases and nuclear sites.

Prime minister Boris Johnson is reported to have spoken to President Trump to explain the move. The US had previously claimed that using the company's equipment posed a spying risk.

China had warned that there could be trade and investment repercussions for the UK if Huawei had been banned outright.

Huawei has always denied that it would help the Chinese government attack one of its clients.

Three out of four of the UK's mobile networks had already decided to use and deploy Huawei's 5G products. Vodafone and EE now face having to reduce their reliance on Huawei, as more than 35 per cent of their existing radio access network equipment was made by it.

The new rules still have to be debated and approved by MPs.

In the 5G world, physical equipment such as routers and switches have largely been 'virtualised'. This means software rather than specialised hardware now does most of the work, opening the door to new capabilities. The downside is that it could also open the system up to new kinds of attack.

Simon Gardiner, sales director of Lister Unified Communications in Stonehouse, said: "5G is seen as an exciting and important enabler of the UK's growth plans and enabling us to keep up with new technology advances.

"Huawei is a large player in this space, as well as being one of China's most important and valuable companies and this decision will certainly help UK business relationships with Beijing and the Chinese market."

Rob Lister, director of Lister, said: "Whilst the security implications of Huawei are so far above our 'pay grade', the benefits and opportunities that 5G will present are so exciting that we want to see it moving full speed ahead."

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