Less than a week after Alex Younger, the chief of MI6, warned about the national security risks that the use of Chinese equipment in the UK's future 5G networks could entail, Huawei has pledged to spend at least £1.5 billion to address such concerns and to ensure its continued participation in the UK's 5G network trials.
Huawei's promised investment to bring in more transparency in its operations also comes not long after the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) told telecom firms in the UK that they should be careful while selecting their 5G equipment suppliers and must take into consideration the findings of a recent review of the UK’s telecoms infrastructure which was initiated to ensure that the UK's “critical national infrastructure remains resilient and secure”.
Last week, leading UK telecom services provider BT also announced its intention to remove all equipment provided by Huawei from its core 3G and 4G networks in the next two years in accordance with an internal agreement following its acquisition of EE. It also committed not to include Huawei in its search for vendors who would provide core infrastructure equipment for its 5G network.
Huawei responds to the UK's national security concerns
According to FT, Huawei agreed to make changes to its engineering processes to meet the NCSC's criteria and to ensure that the government's cyber security experts will be able to accurately assess the cyber resilience of Huawei's equipment that will be deployed in the UK.
"Earlier this year the oversight board report of the HCSEC identified some areas for improvement in our engineering processes. We are grateful for this feedback and committed to addressing these issues. Cyber security remains Huawei’s top priority, and we will continue to actively improve our engineering processes and risk management systems," said a Huawei spokesperson.
"The National Cyber Security Centre is committed to the security of UK networks, and we have a regular dialogue with Huawei about the criteria expected of their products. As was made clear in July’s HCSEC oversight board, the NCSC has concerns around a range of technical issues and has set out improvements the company must make," said a government spokesperson.