Huawei on UK 5G: “There’s no doubt we face some extraordinary challenges”

Huawei has told Pocket-lint that it faces “extraordinary” challenges given the ongoing situation with its US trade ban and ongoing questions about its involvement in the UK’s 5G rollout.

We recently spoke with Huwei’s global chief brand officer Andrew Garrihy and as well as talking about Huawei’s phone, tablet and laptop launches being on track, we also touched on the company’s role in the UK’s ongoing rollout of 5G.

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The discussions took place before it came to light that the UK was potentially discussing a total exclusion of Huawei gear because of increased pressure from the US and a new GCHQ report.

We asked Garrihy if he felt there was going to be a knock-on effect of the continued questions around Huawei’s involvement around 5G rollout. “It’s an obvious question,” he admitted. “As a brand, there’s no doubt we face some extraordinary challenges”.

“And we’ve been subject to many allegations that are not supported by any evidence. But let me talk about the facts. We’ve been [in the UK] for 20 years providing network connectivity. We’ve helped with 3G and 4G. And we continue to invest really heavily to support our customers.

Referring back to the UK Government’s January announcement that Huawei could be involved in as much as 35 percent of the non-core network, Garrihy said that was a “good decision”.

“The [UK} government in January decided that we could participate in the rollout of 5G. That was a decision based on evidence and it was a good decision that will ensure the UK gets advanced technology. Connectivity has gone from being kind of a commodity that we all tried to get for the lowest possible costs to something that’s actually really important.

Garrihy also spoke about Huawei’s global position in 5G and the efforts it’s going to in order to ensure it stays ahead of the competition.

“There’s no question we are a leader in 5G, it’s why because we invest really heavily – 15% of our revenues, every year – back into R&D (research and development). Over 96,000 employees work in R&D.

“We really welcome open and fair competition, it’s good for everyone, it’s good for networks, it’s good for competition, it’s good for consumers. How long would it take a competitor [to catch up]… I couldn’t possibly predict, there are too many variables.”

Garrihy was also at pains to point out that the company remains committed to the UK. “You know, we remain completely committed to the UK and helping the UK get world-leading telecoms infrastructure, which is what we need.”

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