ISLAMABAD              -             The British government announced on Tuesday that it will allow Huawei to contribute in building the country’s next generation of 5G networks. The decision was taken following a National Security Council meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Boris Johnson after months of debate over how to respond to US pressure.

The Trump administration had been lobbying fiercely for the UK to ban Huawei’s participation in its 5G infrastructure, warning that US-UK intelligence sharing could be put at risk. As recently as last Friday, the Financial Times reported that President Donald Trump personally discussed the issue with Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a phone call.

Huawei, the leader in 5G technology, already has a significant presence in the UK wireless networks, all four of the UK’s major operators use the company’s tech in their 5G networks. Prime Minister Boris Johnson himself stated that there was a lack of alternatives to Huawei’s equipment. Vodafone and Telcos, two leading operators, argued against the ban, saying it would set back the country’s infrastructure and that taking out the already existing Huawei tech would cost “hundreds of millions”. In the aftermath of the decision, Huawei’s Vice President, Victor Zhang stated:

‘Huawei is reassured by the UK government’s confirmation that we can continue working with our customers to keep the 5G roll-out on track. This evidence-based decision will result in a more advanced, more secure and more cost-effective telecoms infrastructure that is fit for the future. It gives the UK access to world-leading technology and ensures a competitive market.’

Zhang further emphasized that Huawei has ‘supplied cutting-edge technology to telecoms operators in the UK for more than 15 years’ and that the company will continue to build on this track record, support their customers as they invest in their 5G networks, boost economic growth and help the UK continue to compete globally. He noted the importance of a diverse vendor market and how fair competition drives network reliability and ensures consumers have access to the best possible technology.

The Trump administration did not respond on Tuesday when asked about whether the UK decision would affect intelligence sharing.