Image for representation. (Photo: Reuters)
LONDON: As a move to reduce dependency on China, UK has initiated the move to create a 5G club of democratic countries including India.
Amid the growing security concerns related to Chinese telecom Huawei, UK has approached the US with the design of creating a 5G club of 10 democratic countries including India.
There is already a’D10′ club of democratic partners, including G7 countries, UK, US, Italy, Germany, France, Japan and Canada, Australia, South Korea and India which aim to create alternative suppliers of 5G equipment and other technologies to avoid China reliance.
The move to speed up such a club comes when UK launched an inquiry into Huawei’s involvement in the country’s mobile network upgrade after US sanctions against the company.
One of the UK government officials said that it’s high time to seek something to function better than Huawei in all aspects including the sensitivity related to security.
“We need new entrants to the market,” a UK official said, “that was the reason we ended up having to go along with Huawei at the time.”
Although Nokia and Ericsson are the only European suppliers of 5G infrastructure, experts say that they cannot provide a 5G kit as quickly or as cheaply as Huawei.
Britain has labeled Huawei a high-risk vendor and therefore its involvement in the UK’s 5G upgrade comes with a 35 percent market cap, including a ban on its participation in the sensitive core of the network.
However, UK security officials fear that the ban will prompt China to use cheaper, less secure technologies, instead of verified US versions.
Officials are, meanwhile, examining proposals to curb the installation of Huawei kit in the 5G network from 2023.
According to the sources, increasing the partnership of like-minded democracies forms part of the ongoing reappraisal of the Chinese firm’s involvement in the UK.
Recently, US has increased its action against Huawei, China’s first global tech brand and a maker of network equipment and smartphones, preventing it from doing business in the US, as it believes the company known for its technological advancement in 5G is being used by the Chinese leadership to serve their interest.
The Trump administration regards Huawei as a security risk, which the company has actually been denying. Us is trying to persuade European and other allies to shun the Chinese technology for the next-generation telecom networks.
In the meantime, China has accused the US of raising phony security concerns to hurt a rising competitor to American tech companies.
(With inputs from agencies)