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Vodafone says ripping out Huawei would cost UK lead in 5G

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Britain’s desire to attain the global leadership status in the field of 5G technology would face a big blow if the British government removes China’s Huawei Technologies from the country’s telecom infrastructure, the world’s leading telecom operator Vodafone Group Plc warned.

“The UK’s leadership in 5G will be lost if mobile operators are forced to spend time and money replacing existing equipment,” Scott Petty, Vodafone UK’s Chief Technology Officer, told Reuters. According to Petty, rather than stripping out the equipment of the Chinese telecom company, the government should instead make efforts to increase 5G coverage and develop its technological capabilities.

This development came amid the increasing pressure on the UK government to prohibit the Chinese vendor. To recap, in January 2020, Britain designated the Chinese tech giant a “high-risk vendor”, restricting its role in 5G operations. Last month, an emergency review of Huawei’s 5G role was also launched by the National Cyber Security Centre following the announcement of new sanctions by the US.

Even some concerns were raised that Huawei’s equipment could be used by China for spying purposes. However, the ICT infrastructure provider has repeatedly denied such allegations. According to sources, the UK is also looking at the possibility of phasing the Chinese tech company out of its 5G network completely in the coming years.

It is worth noting that the bilateral relations between the United Kingdom and China have seen a dramatic change since the outbreak of COVID-19.