What does the future look like for Huawei?

The founder of Huawei’s daughter was arrested in Canada for extradition to the United States, some countries have banned their equipment and the company is under increasing scrutiny. So what’s going on with Huawei?

The Chinese telecoms giant, which manufactures a range of network equipment and mobile phones, is under scrutiny with several governments around the world blocking telecoms companies from using Huawei technology in next-generation 5G mobile networks, because of security concerns.

Some (Australia, New Zealand and the US) have already banned Huawei from supplying equipment for their future fifth generation mobile broadband networks, while Canada is reviewing whether the company’s products present a serious security threat.

Most of the UK’s mobile companies – Vodafone, EE and Three – have been working with Huawei on developing their 5G networks but are awaiting a government review, due in March or April, that will decide whether they can use Huawei technology. Last year, BT confirmed that it was removing Huawei’s equipment from the EE core network that it owns.

According to the National Cyber Security Centre there are concerns about sloppy cyber-security practices and they have been giving advice to UK mobile operators as they order the equipment for the rollout of their 5G networks later this year.

The NCSC feel that its best to keep Huawei out of the core of 5G networks, but companies are OK to use its equipment at phone masts (as part of the range of suppliers).

However, Australia and New Zealand have taken a far harder line against Huawei, probably due to the pressure from the US to freeze Huawei out. The US argues Huawei could use malign software updates to spy on those using 5G and points to China’s National Intelligence Law that says organisations must “support, co-operate with and collaborate in national intelligence work”. This is denied.