The move is a reversal of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s January decision to allow the Chinese telecom giant in Britain’s 5G buildout in a limited capacity. The government is expected to make a formal announcement of its plans to ban the company on Tuesday following a meeting discussing the matter. (Reuters)
Talking point: The forthcoming announcement follows a push from the U.K. on fellow Five Eyes countries—Canada, the U.S., Australia and New Zealand—and other allies to collaborate on investment, procurement and research for 5G rivals to Huawei. The U.K. raised the idea last year, but it’s become more urgent following new U.S. sanctions on Huawei that threaten the Shenzhen-based company’s supply chain. Australia has already joined the U.S. in effectively banning Huawei in its next generation of wireless networks, over national security concerns surrounding the company’s ties to Beijing; Canada is still considering a ban, as the firm discusses plans to boost its R&D presence in the country. Whether to include Huawei in their 5G networks is considered a highly political decision for nations. For the U.K., a ban could win favour from Washington, while potentially ending a so-called golden era of diplomacy with China. On the eve of the U.K.’s decision, Huawei reported its revenue growth slowed to 13.1 per cent for the first half of 2020, down from 23.2 per cent for the same period last year, but that its net profit margins improved, from 8.7 to 9.2 per cent, year over year.