Phone Service Providers Ignore Security Fears as they Work with Huawei on 5G
17:07 15 July 2019
The United Kingdom’s top four mobile network providers are ignoring security fears that surround the Chinese tech company Huawei as they work them to set up the fifth generation mobile network.
While the UK has yet to confirm whether or not they will strike a deal with the firm, Huawei is already rolling 5G across cities in the country including Bristol, Glasgow, Manchester, London, and Liverpool. Vodafone, which is the first UK network to offer unlimited 5G data plans, has gone live with 5G in seven UK cities in total, and Huawei is involved in six of them.
Tensions with the US
This softer position on Huawei, which many are concerned cooperate too much with Chinese government’s surveillance program, may also cause tensions between the United Kingdom and the United States. The US has banned Huawei from the country and has a stance against them overall.
The US government has said the Chinese government is using the company to spy on both companies and countries. Huawei has denied these allegations and have warned that if the UK were to ban Huawei that costs would greatly increase. It would also leave the UK behind on 5G technology.
Liu Xiaoming, the Chinese ambassador to the UK, said that he would guarantee Huawei would not give secrets gained from the 5G network to Beijing.
Huawei is also involved in building hundreds of 5G sites for EE and has won contracts to build networks for other companies like O2 and Three when they also go live.
Vodfone & Huawei
Launching three unlimited 5G contracts that are SIM-free starting at £23, Vodafone’s 5G service is still limited in speed but provides the data for the 5G network. The lowest plan is mainly for basic features like web surfing and the most expensive plan would allow streaming of high quality games, fast downloads, and hotspots with more confidence. It will also be possible to add an entertainment plan by adding £6 a month.
According to the experts at MoneyPug, a site used to compare mobile phones, since the network has only launched in seven major cities, it won’t be available everywhere for a while.
Still, the rollout will continue over the course of the year to cover 12 additional cities including Newbury, Reading, Blackpool, Portsmouth, and more. In addition, Vodafone is the first provider in the UK to offer 5G roaming in Spain, Italy, and Germany. This expansion is only possible by doing business with Huawei, which has been essential to building the network.
5G & the Future of Technology
While there are security concerns with Huawei, 5G will lead to many advancement in technology. The push towards premiering the network has people everywhere excited about the support for new technologies. Things like AI, robotics, automated cars, and the internet of things will all be facilitated by 5G. It will make remote surgeries possible. It will support 4K video streaming and downloads of large files.
Anne Sheehan, the business director of Vodafone UK, has said that “5G is a game-changer for the economy and UK businesses.” Some have estimated up to 12 trillion dollars in global economic output.
Technology & Surveillance
As the excitement about 5G increases, the implications of Huawei’s surveillance will become clearer. For now companies are more concerned about getting on the 5G train early and making substantial profit from it.
The UK’s operators continue to use Huawei’s equipment despite the controversy surrounding the telecom firm. If the government of the UK decides that it is no longer safe to rely on it as a part of the network, mobile service operators may be forced to strip out its kit and replace it.
The political pressures on Huawei and the people they do business with are valid and will increase as the Chinese company gets more power to surveil. Every network provider is trying to get ahead on 5G and the playing field will shift as more companies get a handle on technology.
Still, by cooperating with Huawei, the UK has found itself at the top of the switch to 5G. Though they will likely see many benefits from the capabilities, the UK will also see negative consequences of Chinese surveillance and spying.