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UK talks with US about alternative 5G supplier to Chinese tech giant Huawei

Sophia Sleigh
Boris Johnson defied repeated warnings from Donald Trump to rule that Huawei could play a role in the UK's 5G network: REUTERS

Britain has held talks with the US on an alternative 5G supplier to Chinese tech giant Huawei, Downing Street confirmed today.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman was asked at a briefing of Westminster journalists if the Government was seeking an alternative 5G provider to Huawei.

He said: “Yes, we set out in January that we were seeking new entrants into the market in order to diversify and that is something that we have been speaking to our allies about including the United States.”

In January, Boris Johnson agreed to let Huawei continue to be used in the 5G networks but with restrictions, despite pressure from the US to block the firm.

It was agreed that the Chinese tech giant would be banned from supplying kit to "sensitive parts" of the network.

A telecoms mast near Dundry, Somerset (PA)

Asked when we could expect to see the legislation or data on how they would reduce Huawei’s market share, he replied: “What’s happening at the moment is the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) are studying the implications of the recent US announcement on new sanctions against Huawei that work is ongoing. We need that work to be completed first.”

It comes after the US moved to restrict the company’s ability to buy chips, which was justified on "national security grounds".

On Sunday, the UK's National Security Centre (NCSC) confirmed it was examining the impact this would have on the UK networks that use Huawei's tech.

The spokesman said they would need to study the implications of the US sanctions.

The Government also urged China to reconsider its moves to gain more control over Hong Kong.

China has reportedly said Britain's suggestion of offering British National (Overseas) passport holders in the territory a path to UK citizenship would violate international law.

Responding, the Prime Minister's spokesman said: "We have urged China to reconsider the implementation of this law and live up to its responsibilities as a leading member of the international community.

"We hope they will listen carefully to the arguments we have made in public and in private about the impact which Beijing's proposal would have on Hong Kong's stability and prosperity.”