UK set to scale back Huawei role in 5G network: report

File: Analysts had blamed Huawei's slowdown in the first three months of 2020 on the virus fallout on business, and on US-led efforts to contain the company's involvement in foreign telecom networks.

File: Analysts had blamed Huawei's slowdown in the first three months of 2020 on the virus fallout on business, and on US-led efforts to contain the company's involvement in foreign telecom networks.

AFP/Fred DuFour

LONDON - Britain will reduce Chinese tech giant Huawei's controversial involvement in its 5G network in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, the Daily Telegraph reported Saturday.

READ: Africa coronavirus cases surpass 100000

Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave the green light to Huawei's participation in January, despite widespread domestic opposition and pressure from the United States.

But he has now instructed officials to draft plans that would see China's involvement in Britain's infrastructure end by 2023, according to the report.

Washington has pushed hard for countries to bar Huawei from building their next-generation 5G mobile networks, claiming its equipment can be used to spy for Beijing.

READ: Vodacom launches 5G services in SA

Johnson is due to meet US President Donald Trump next month for the G7 summit, with Britain hoping to scale up talks over a bilateral trade deal.

MPs in Johnson's own party have led the charge against Huawei's involvement, a movement that has gathered pace following China's actions during the coronavirus crisis. 

"He has taken a great many soundings from his own MPs on this issue and shares their serious concerns. The deal was struck before the pandemic hit but coronavirus has changed everything," an unnamed source told the paper.

Downing Street said they would not comment on the latest report.

Source
AFP