5G Security – The Politics of Huawei Equipment in the United Kingdom

26 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2020

See all articles by Ewan Sutherland

Ewan Sutherland

University of the Witwatersrand, LINK Centre

Date Written: July 17, 2020


While the US Congress has long viewed Huawei as a security threat, this only recently became part of US foreign policy, with efforts by the Trump Administration to press allies to exclude commercial operators from buying its 5G network equipment. US success has been mostly amongst its ‘Five Eyes’ surveillance partners. For 15 years the United Kingdom had allowed the installation of network equipment from Huawei, subject to special security arrangements. However, growing US political pressure, a shift to the right in the Conservative Party and other domestic factors saw rising parliamentary support for the exclusion of Huawei. After months of deliberation and evaluation the government of Boris Johnson instituted a limited ban on operators using 5G equipment from Huawei in January 2020. Then, under further US and parliamentary pressure the UK government performed a u-turn to adopt an outright ban, albeit phased to limit the costs and delays for citizens.

Keywords: 5G, 6G, B5G, China, Cyber-security, Radio Access Network, Security, United Kingdom, United States, Telecommunications

JEL Classification: O33, O38, P33, P31, M38, L13, L17, L38, L86, L96, K23

Suggested Citation

Sutherland, Ewan, 5G Security – The Politics of Huawei Equipment in the United Kingdom (July 17, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3654596 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3654596

Ewan Sutherland (Contact Author)

University of the Witwatersrand, LINK Centre ( email )

1 Jan Smuts Avenue
Johannesburg, Gauteng 2000
South Africa

HOME PAGE: http://link.wits.ac.za/

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