British security officials have notified UK’s telecom operators to ensure that they have enough Huawei equipment as US sanctions might disrupt the company’s capacity to continuously supply them, according to a letter seen by Reuters.
Officials of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) wrote to operators including BT Group and Vodafone last week, telling them to secure equipment supply from all their spare parts manufacturers, which includes Huawei.
In May, after the US announced its sanctions against Huawei, James Slack, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman revealed that the UK’s NCSC launched a study on the possible consequences of US sanctions and its effect on the UK’s networks.
NCSC said in the letter, that “Ensuring that products and components are kept up-to-date is essential to maintaining the security of networks. Escalating US action against Huawei may affect its ability to provide updates for products containing US technology”.
In January, the UK labeled Huawei as a “high-risk vendor” and limited Huawei’s involvement in the UK’s 5G infrastructure to 35%.
Critics in the US have repeatedly claimed that Huawei features can be used to spy on citizens and governments due to the company’s close ties with China.
Huawei denied the allegations.
In an open letter launched by Huawei early this month, it said that it was “committed as ever” to working with the UK’s network operators, despite new probes in its role to the country’s 5G infrastructure.
Huawei Vice President Victor Zhang said, “Our customers are our number one priority and we are working with them to ensure business continuity. We strongly oppose politically-motivated actions by the US that are designed to damage our business and are not based on evidence.”
According to Reuters, any move to further restrict Huawei’s involvement in UK telecom would be detrimental to the relationship between the UK and China.