Huawei Wants a Meeting with Boris Johnson

By Holly Brockwell on at

Huawei has requested a meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson to discuss the whole 5G situation and try to work something out.

The UK has been grappling for some time with the thorny issue of whether or not to exclude Huawei from our nascent 5G infrastructure, because the US has massive beef with the company which may cause stock shortages, plus some experts think there's a security risk associated with allowing it access to UK data.

According to Reuters, Huawei is hoping that it can negotiate a delay to the UK's removal of its equipment from the 5G network. The original plan was to phase Huawei kit out by 2023, but Boris Johnson reportedly now has "sound technical reasons" for fast-tracking the process and removing Huawei kit in as little as six months.

The company would apparently like to push that until after the June 2025 elections in the hope that a new government might let them stay. In exchange for such a stay of execution, Huawei will apparently offer to provide maintenance services for its existing equipment in this country – including that used in our 2G, 3G and 4G networks.

BT recently warned the government that pulling Huawei equipment too quickly would likely lead to connection blackouts, and Vodafone said we'll lose 5G leadership status if we don't use Huawei stuff. Meanwhile, China has warned that the UK will face "retaliatory responses" if the company – whose treatment it's viewing as a proxy for China itself – is booted out:

"Since the Chinese government has attached great significance to the way Huawei is treated overseas, and literally taken it increasingly as a test stone of bilateral ties, its reaction to such a decision should be easy to predict."

It's all getting a bit "you can't sit with us," isn't it?

Still, it's not all fisticuffs between the UK and Huawei: South Cambridgeshire District Council recently green-lighted the company's £1bn new research and development centre newbuild, since it'll bring lots of jobs, and it sounds like we're going to need them. [Reuters]