The U.K. government greenlit Huawei for a limited role in the U.K.’s fifth-generation telecommunications networks. This is a blow for American efforts of the last few years to get its allies to boycott the Chinese telecom-equipment vendor.

The U.S. has been campaigning against Huawei ostensibly over spying fears. However, the real reasons are much more complicated. See Geopolitics of 5G and 5G-Connected Massive & Critical IoT for my analysis of the 5G-related geopolitical spat. The underlying question really being about who would take the lead in the nascent “Society 5.0” / “Everything Connected” era and who gets left behind.

The U.K. faced a dilemma weighing between the economic costs of being out-innovated and the relationship with China on one side, and the national security and the relationship the U.S. on the other.

I believe U.K. decision was the most rational course of action. The government is confident it can mitigate the risks by preventing Huawei’s equipment from being used in sensitive ‘core’ parts of 5G. It will also cap the involvement of Huawei at 35% of non-sensitive parts of Britain’s network.

For more information see Bloomberg article: Huawei Poised to Get Go-Ahead for U.K.’s 5G Networks Tuesday

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Marin Ivezic is a Cybersecurity & Privacy Partner in PwC Canada focused on risks of emerging technologies.

UK 5G Huawei