British security officials do not support a full ban of Huawei from national telecoms networks despite US allegations the Chinese firm and its products could be used by Beijing for spying, people with knowledge of the matter said.
Huawei, the world’s biggest producer of telecoms equipment, faces intense scrutiny in the West over its relationship with the Chinese government and allegations of enabling state espionage, with the United States calling for its allies not to use its technology.
Although no evidence has been produced publicly and Huawei has denied the claims, the allegations have led several Western countries to restrict its access to their markets.
‘We don’t favour a complete ban. It’s not that simple,’ one of the sources told Reuters on Monday after a Financial Times report on Sunday said that Britain had decided it could mitigate the risks of using Huawei equipment in 5G networks.
The FT cited two sources familiar with what it said was a conclusion by the government’s National Cyber Security Council (NCSC), which last year said technical and supply-chain issues with Huawei’s equipment had exposed national telecom networks to new security risks. Huawei had no immediate
Any decision to allow Huawei to participate in building next-generation 5G networks would be closely watched by other nations, because of Britain’s membership of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing group with the United States.
Britain is an important market for Huawei and last month Vodafone, the world’s second-largest mobile operator, said it was ‘pausing’ the deployment of its equipment in core networks until Western governments give the Chinese firm full security clearance.
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