UK PM ‘won’t say no to Huawei’ says company founder and CEO

UK PM ‘won’t say no to Huawei’ says company founder and CEO

16 August 2019 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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Huawei’s founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei has said he is confident the new UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, will allow the company to supply 5G equipment.

The UK is still pondering whether to follow the US lead and ban Huawei kit from networks or whether to allow the company to supply some elements following security tests.

In an interview with the Sky News TV channel, Ren (pictured) said “I think they won’t say no to us as long as they go through those rigorous tests and look at it in a serious manner and I think if they do say no, it won’t be to us.”

UK operators have indicated that they are willing to use Huawei kit in their radio access networks (RANs) but generally not in their core networks – leading to some observers to complain that, with 5G, there is no real demarcation.

In May the US government put Huawei on its entity list, which bans US companies and citizens from trading with it. That means Huawei will have difficulty loading Google’s Android on its future smartphones and offering Android apps. Huawei has launched its own operating system, HarmonyOS, but this is not yet available on smartphones – nor is there an ecosystem of apps.

Ren told Sky News: “It would take a very long time to build our own ecosystem. For a very long time we may not be able to maintain as top smartphone vendors.”

He said this could be an opportunity: “If the US government does not allow Google to provide Android system, then the world may have a third operating system – and that is not in the best benefit or interests of the United States, allowing a little brother operating system into the world. You cannot rule out the chance that the third operating system might outrun them someday.”

Johnson said within days of coming into office last month that the UK should roll out 5G as soon as possible. Ren said Johnson is “very decisive” and “a very capable person”.