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Rumours swirl for a post-Huawei UK

There are plenty of rumours emerging as the UK attempts to deal with a Huawei-less future, including guidance from the Japanese, TikTok kicking off and diverting attention to the US.

While some might point to the irony of the US being the root cause of the rationale to ban Huawei in the UK, but this debate is largely redundant. By hook or crook, Huawei will no-longer be a feature of the UK’s 5G future, and now the industry how to figure out how to make this new equation equal the desired outcome.

According to The Guardian, UK Government officials and Huawei have been having private conversations during which the US has been blamed for the ban.

The root cause of the ban was not cybersecurity concerns but Huawei’ supply chain being compromised by bureaucratic actions and sanctions from the US Government. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) could not offer confidence in Huawei’s ability to offer resiliency to UK communications networks as the US has undermined the supply of semiconductors.

Industry commentators have suggested the White House was the cause of Huawei’s problems, though the UK Government will never confirm. This would be a diplomatic disaster, though we suspect US officials would not be entirely bothered about these conversations. Its not although the US has attempted to disguise its aggression towards the Chinese network infrastructure vendor.

Alongside the passing of blame, it has also been suggested the UK Government has contacted Japan for assistance and guidance to build 5G networks.

With NEC and Fujitsu potential alternative suppliers for UK telecoms operators, UK representatives have met with Japanese counterparts to discuss ways in which the Huawei competence can be replicated. This is a country which has made an effort to supercharge network infrastructure suppliers with Government investment after all.

The Japanese connectivity market is a very interesting one thanks to the emergence of Rakuten as a fourth mobile network operator. This is a network deployment strategy which does not make use of traditional network infrastructure vendors, leaning on the OpenRAN ecosystem. Many governments will have an interest in these developments, with those banning Chinese vendors at the top of the list.

The final rumour worth noting involves TikTok, the under fire Chinese social media application. London has been reported as the location for its international headquarters, though reports are suggesting these plans are being questioned thanks to the Huawei ban.

Fears of a ‘tit-for-tat’ economic war between the UK and Chinese are certainly based in reality, that is exactly what is happening in the US after all, though the UK is simultaneously exiting the European Union meaning trade relationships are critical. The UK is currently negotiating new trade relationships and will be sensitive to any spanners which are heading towards the works, perhaps explaining why UK officials allegedly have met with Huawei to pass the blame onto the White House.

TikTok is already somewhat of a controversial app, some have suggested it is an earpiece for the Chinese Government, though if it relocates HQ plans at the same time as a Huawei ban in the UK, the criticism could get louder. Some might suggest it is a coincidence, nothing more than a commercial decision, however it is convenient timing.

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