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UK allows Huawei to help build its 5G network – so will this make Australia change its mind?

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The UK Government has decided to allow Huawei to supply equipment for the country’s 5G rollout – a decision which flies in the face of the Australian Government move to ban the Chinese company.

So will this news from the UK make the Australian Government to change its mind? Not likely.

Australia made the decision to ban Huawei after pressure from the US Government which had already barred Huawei from the US 5G rollout as well.

For then Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull and for current Prime Minister Scott Morrison, life is a lot easier when the US Government and Donald Trump are on your side.

The reversal of this decision to ban Huawei in Australia would create serious political tension between Australia and the US that could have economic repercussions.

Naturally Huawei Australia is seeing the UK decision as a victory and hope it sets a precedent to reverse the decision here in Australia.

The call to exclude Huawei from the Australian 5G rollout was made by Malcolm Turnbull on the day he was ousted as Prime Minister in August 2018.

But what a lot of people don’t realise is that a great portion of the 4G networks in Australia were built by Huawei so were already using its equipment which is seen by many as among the best in the world.

A condition of the UK’s decision to allow Huawei to help with the 5G network build was that the company would not be permitted to work on core parts of the network.

Much of the debate in this issue has been around determining the difference between core and non-core elements of a 5G network.

The UK decision comes after a through parliamentary committee report which unanimously concluded that there is a clear distinction between core and non-core portions of the infrastructure.

Huawei Australia has repeatedly said then PM Malcolm Turnbull had based his decision on incorrect information.

But Turnbull stood by his decision in a recent interview on Sky News where he said the virtualisation of the 5G network and the distributed processing meant there wasn’t really an edge to the network.

Huawei has been classed by the US, Australia and even the UK governments as a high-risk vendor and didn’t want the company from the core functions of the network.

The Chinese company released a report dispelling what it says are false claims including one that alleges a close relationship with the Chinese government.

Huawei is actually a private company which is 100 per cent owned by its employees but it says it is no different from other large tech companies which enjoy relationships with various governments including its own.

Huawei also says the 5G ban in the US is geopolitical and linked to the trade war between the two countries.

The decision by the UK Government and Prime Minister Boris Johnson to allow Huawei to work on the non-core parts of its 5G network could potentially cause tensions between the UK and the US.

The US had been trying to persuade the UK Government to follow its lead in banning Huawei.

But the UK, after looking at it from all angles, based its decision on what it would need to build an advanced, secure and cost-effective telecoms infrastructure and Huawei is now allowed to take part.

Huawei has already secured more than 50 commercial 5G contracts around the world including South Korea, Switzerland and Finland.