The UK government is looking at ways to reduce its reliance on Chinese technology, floating the idea of forging an alliance with nine other countries to develop 5G equipment and pave the way for new entrants in the market, The Times reported.
Citing government sources, the newspaper said the government approached the US about a possible ‘D10’ club, consisting of 10 democratic partners to pool resources and investments into technology, including 5G gear.
The alliance would be based on the current G7 model, which is an international intergovernmental economic organisation consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US, adding South Korea, India and Australia.
One option would be to use government cash to boost companies within their states, in a move that could significantly open up the vendor market.
In Europe, Ericsson and Nokia are the major rivals to Huawei in supplying 5G infrastructure equipment.
Huawei under fire (again)
Huawei had been cleared in January by the UK government to provide a limited amount of 5G equipment in non-sensitive parts of networks, but questions about its future involvement have been raised this week, as it faced additional US scrutiny.
In mid-May, Washington moved to restrict Huawei’s access to components produced overseas using US software and technology. The toughened sanctions prompted the UK to open a review into the impact this could have on mobile networks in the country.
According to reports, there are fears that Huawei will use cheaper, less secure components as a result of the latest ban, compromising security.
Speaking to The Times about the possible alliance, a source said there was a need for “new entrants to the market”.
“That was the reason we ended up having to go along with Huawei at the time.”