Huawei - what's the problem?

22 May 2019

One of the big stories in the telecommunications industry at the moment centres around Chinese mobile phone maker Huawei.  Known as one of the biggest suppliers of telecoms gear in the world, the US, in particular, have banned the use of their equipment and urged other countries such as the UK to do the same.  But what’s the problem with Huawei?


The problem comes from the question of the independence of the company from the Chinese government.  Generally, private companies aren’t connected with the government of the country but in China, things are a little different.  This has led to concerns that the Chinese government could gain access to the new 5G network that Huawei was providing to countries including the UK.

The case for ties between the company and the Chinese government is quite strong.  The founder, Ren Zhengfei is a former technologist with the People’s Liberation Army and as far back as 2003, the company was accused of stealing intellectual property from US companies, namely hardware maker Cisco.

Things came to a head in February last year when the Senate committee was told by six US intelligence agency heads that they didn’t trust either Huawei or its Chinese rival ZTE and recommended against using their smartphones of other equipment. 

The UK is currently evaluating the equipment and software to make a decision if the company will remain involved in the 5G rollout.  BT has already announced they are removing Huawei equipment from their existing mobile networks and won’t use it in the future as having a number of governments across Europe.  We wait to hear the final outcome from the British government on the matter.

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