Trading blows over Huawei. Is the spat over 5G a US commercial play?
With President Trump’s administration demanding the UK Government ditch any plans to integrate Huawei a Chinese telecoms giant into the future 5G infrastructure or face the risk of tariffs on British cars, it’s important to consider what may be the alternative motivations. Huawei supply some 30% of all 5G kit globally. They produce top quality kit and more cheaply than their three main competitors Samsung, Ericsson, (Swedish) and Nokia.
What is all the fuss about?
The US fear that Huawei are a front for the Chinese government and therefore the company may be used as a form of agent for intelligence collection. Huawei deny this. The UK government currently checks Huawei’s kit and they say the techs are happy that there are no back doors or means by which the Chinese could sneakily harvest intelligence.
In a recent Economist article the newspaper said existing tech could quiet satisfactory deal with any possible tampering by Huawei. Both end encryption works well enough to render any intercepted data gibberish. Despite this reasonable point the Americans appear to demand that while the UK government pay through the nose for 5G infrastructure. To date the Americans have not suggested an alternative supplier.
What is the solution?
While we should be mindful of security what is the real play? Are the Americans trying to contain the Chinese in terms of trade? Do the Americans recognise that the Chinese have a head start on 5G and by demanding (some would say bullying), smaller countries into not buying into a rivals kit they can contain the Chinese 21st centuary commercial ambitions.
With all the facts at our disposal at the moment this would appear to be a likely, longer term, motivation from the Americans.