5G Will Take Yonks if the Government Bans Huawei Kit, Says Three

By Holly Brockwell on at

Our woefully inefficient government has been faffing about trying to decide what to do about Brexit Huawei for ages now, and it's almost time to hear its conclusion.

In the meantime, phone network Three has piped up to say it would really prefer to be able to use the low-cost equipment produced by one of the biggest tech manufacturers in the world, and that banning Huawei kit would delay Brexit the 5G rollout.

Three's David Dyson says the UK could be a year and a half late to 5G if the networks can't make use of Huawei equipment, putting us far behind the rest of the world and significantly impacting the economy. Other communications bodies including Vodafone have said much the same.

However, of course there's a balance to be found between how fast we get 5G and how secure said 5G is. Presumably the public would prefer the whole thing takes a bit longer if it turns out Huawei tech is a security risk, although most of Europe and the UK's investigations so far have found that it either isn't much of one or it's manageable.

Huawei itself of course says it's completely blameless and everyone (read: America) is just being mean.

Three's Dyson (person, not hoover) comments:

"We've already started to deploy equipment for when we launch 5G in the second half of the year.

So if we had to change vendor now, we would take a big step backwards and probably cause a delay of 12 to 18 months."

In other words, "we've already bought all the Huawei stuff, please don't make us change it."

The network also said it's talked to the government about any risks with using Huawei kit and found nothing to worry about:

"Huawei met all of the standards that the other operators met, and we felt at the end of that process that Huawei was the right choice for our customers and for our business."

Vodafone CTO Scott Petty recently said that not only would banning Huawei significantly slow down the launch of 5G, it would also mean the network would have to go and take all the existing Huawei kit out of its 4G network. Apparently, "the cost of doing that runs into the hundreds of millions."

We should find out in April what the government's decision is regarding Huawei, assuming of course no one asks for an extension.