By Thomas Seal, Kitty Donaldson and Robert Hutton
The UK is set to toughen the rules under which Huawei Technologies operates in the country while stopping short of an outright ban on the Chinese telecom equipment maker.
The measures, designed to address concerns that Chinese intelligence could use Huawei’s systems to spy on other countries, are expected to involve closer state oversight and may restrict the vendor from some sensitive parts of the UK’s telecom networks, according to sources.
The results of a six- month review of the UK’s telecom supply chain were submitted yesterday to the National Security Council chaired by prime minister Theresa May.
Officials will spend the coming days working through the details before announcing a final decision.
Ms May’s office declined to comment on a media report that she had decided to allow Huawei to build parts of the new generation of wireless networks known as 5G.
Western allies are watching.
The UK has monitored Shenzhen-based Huawei’s systems closely for several years, while allowing it to become a major supplier of UK communications infrastructure.
Huawei denies that its equipment is vulnerable to state espionage.
“We welcome reports that the UK government is moving towards allowing Huawei to help build the UK’s 5G networks,” a Huawei spokesman said.
“While we await a formal government announcement, we will continue to work co-operatively with the government and the industry.”
The issue has divided UK government departments, with some officials pushing for tough restrictions and others concerned that this would saddle the industry with extra costs and delay infrastructure upgrades.