U.K. to Allow Huawei Access to ‘Non-Core’ Parts of 5G Network, Despite U.S. Warnings

The U.K. government will allow Huawei to be a supplier for some non-core parts of the country’s 5G networks, despite national security concerns.

According to a new report from Reuters, British Prime Minister Theresa May has reportedly agreed to allow controversial telecoms company Huawei to provide equipment for the upcoming 5G infrastructure in the UK.

Britain’s National Security Council agreed on Tuesday to let Huawei provide “non-core” technology, like antennas, to the country’s mobile operators for the next-generation networks. The U.K. will not allow the Chinese firm to provide “core” technology, which includes software and other equipment that link primary internet connections, several media outlets reported.

In a statement, a U.K. government spokesperson said, “National Security Council discussions are confidential. Decisions from those meetings are made and announced at the appropriate time through the established processes.”

“As part of our plans to provide world class digital connectivity, including 5G, we are conducting an evidence-based review of the supply chain to ensure a diverse and secure supply base, now and into the future. This is a thorough review into a complex area and will report with its conclusions in due course,” the statement continued.

A security source told Reuters that Britain would block Huawei from all core parts of the 5G network and access to non-core parts would be restricted. A second source confirmed that. Both spoke on condition of anonymity.

A statement from Huawei said that it was “pleased that the UK is continuing to take an evidence-based approach to its work, and we will continue to work cooperatively with the government, and the industry”.

The U.S. has cast Huawei as a national security threat, alleging that its technology can be accessed by Chinese intelligence, and has asked U.S. allies to institute a ban on its products.

“Allowing Huawei into the U.K.’s 5G infrastructure would cause allies to doubt our ability to keep data secure and erode the trust essential to Five Eyes cooperation,” Tom Tugendhat, the chairman of Britain’s Foreign Affairs Committee, said, according to the report.