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COVID-19: Huawei urges UK to stick with 5G collaboration

COVID-19: Huawei urges UK to stick with 5G collaboration

Huawei has argued that ending its role in 5G development in Britain would be a disservice to the country, as a Tory-backed review of the deal – as well as COVID-19-fueled panic – challenges the business relationship.

 

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In a letter making the case for the Chinese tech giant, Huawei’s UK chief Victor Zhang noted that home data use has increased by 50 percent since the COVID-19 pandemic reached Europe – a surge that has put “significant pressure” on existing telecommunication systems.

He argued that development of the high-speed network would greatly benefit a rural community “stuck in a digital slow lane.”

 

“There are those who choose to continue to attack us without presenting any evidence,” Zhang noted.

In January, the firm was given the go-ahead to provide “non-core” elements for the UK’s 5G network. The longevity of the partnership remains an open question, however. In March, 38 Tory MPs rebelled on the issue, setting the stage for a major legislative battle when a bill is brought before parliament later in the year to sign off on telecoms infrastructure.

 

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Although security concerns have been the primary motivator among lawmakers who oppose Huawei, the country’s budding 5G network has recently become the target of conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 epidemic. Baseless rumors linking 5G mobile telecommunications masts with the spread of the COVID-19 illness have spread across the internet, forcing NHS England’s national medical director, Professor Stephen Powis, to denounce them as “complete and utter rubbish” and “the worst kind of fake news.”

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