The UK government announced that the UK’s mobile providers are banned from buying Huawei 5G equipment from the end of this year. In addition, the government requires operators to remove all Huawei equipment from the UK’s telecommunications network by 2027. At the beginning of this year, the Johnson administration approved some limited involvement of Huawei in constructing UK’s 5G network, now it reversed course.
This is certainly a blow to Huawei. UK’s rejection of Huawei is likely to increase other countries’ hesitation.
However, the UK government has given a buffer period, allowing mobile providers to stop buying Huawei equipment by the end of this year and remove Huawei equipment by 2027, indicating that banning Huawei is a difficult action for it. UK telecoms operators widely oppose the decision of banning Huawei and UK government officials have publicly acknowledged that the latest decision will delay the launch of 5G networks by two to three years and cost 2 billion pounds more.
UK’s decision is obviously the result of heavy pressure from Washington. However, using Huawei or not is ultimately a matter of technology and economy. As long as Huawei can survive the US crackdown and maintain its technological lead, the decision of the UK will be only for now, and Huawei still has the chance for another comeback in the UK market.
Huawei’s European rivals cannot compete with Huawei. The West may support them with administrative means, however, it will not help them become stronger. So Huawei should not feel discouraged. Growing under pressure is the only choice of Huawei.
The UK is an important member of the Five Eyes, which now follows Washington’s policy loyally. The UK’s decision means huge economic loss for it. It is highly doubtful that other European countries will make the same decision.
Huawei’s sales in the first half of this year increased by 13.1 percent year-on-year despite the epidemic. Some Western countries have been saying one thing on Huawei, but doing another. Even the US itself repeatedly approves certain contracts with Huawei. It’s really not easy to say goodbye to Huawei.
It’s necessary for China to retaliate against UK, otherwise wouldn’t we be too easy to bully? Such retaliation should be public and painful for the UK. But it’s unnecessary to turn it into a China-UK confrontation. The UK is not the US, nor Australia, nor Canada. It is a relative “weak link” in the Five Eyes. In the long run, the UK has no reason to turn against China, with the Hong Kong issue fading out.
China needs to speed up the development of its telecommunications technology. There will be many countries and many companies wavering under the pressure of the US. The most effective way for China to influence them will be to increase our strength and attractiveness, and nothing else.