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Uk Telecoms: Huawei

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:48 am on 25th April 2019.

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Photo of Jeremy Wright Jeremy Wright The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport 10:48 am, 25th April 2019

First, there is no lack of UK strategy. We have a clear intent to make maximum use of 5G technology. That is important because, as the hon. Gentleman will recognise, in order for our economic development to be as successful as we all want it to be, this country will need to embrace this technology and make use of it in a variety of ways. The option of simply saying we will not engage in 5G technology is not available to us, nor should it be, and I know he does not argue for that.

If we need to provide for 5G networks, I repeat that it is important to be realistic and to recognise that Huawei is a significant player in this market. There are few others—and, by the way, the others that exist use Chinese equipment or assemble their components in China. The idea that any option available to us could completely exclude Chinese equipment or involvement of any kind is, I am afraid, not realistic.

It is also worth saying, for the reassurance of the hon. Gentleman and others, that we already take action to, for example, exclude Huawei from sensitive networks. There is no Huawei equipment in defence or intelligence networks. The division between core and access networks—which, as he says, is technically complex—is something we will need to address in the review, but I would much prefer that we discuss that review in the round when it has been properly developed, rather than attempt to do it piecemeal on the back of incomplete leaks.