The government has been discouraged from banning Huawei products in the UK, amid fears that doing so could slow down the rollout of 5G networks.
Many countries around the world, including the US, have blocked telecoms companies from using Huawei equipment with 5G networks amid security concerns. Though the UK has yet to enforce such a ban (despite mounting pressure) it has undertaken a review to help inform its decision.
With the verdict of this review due very soon, David Dyson from mobile network Three has aired his concern about the UK unwittingly hindering 5G development by enforcing such a ban. Huawei was, he claimed, part of Three’s plan for 5G connectivity. Not only that, it achieved such status by meeting all the same standards that all the other manufacturers were subject to.
Dyson argued that blocking Huawei would cause a delay of between 12 and 18 months – which would have “implications for the broader economic environment in the UK.”
This is a hugely important issue, as 5G promises to be bring about a step change in how all manner of mobile devices are used.
Whereas previous developments (such as the move from 3G to 4G) was billed as a way to improve streaming and download speeds, 5G could revolutionise the way all mobile devices are used. Speeds of up to 20 times faster than we currently enjoy could make augmented reality and virtual reality much more commonplace. It could also be used to power more sophisticated drones, so high definition film footage could be gathered in search and rescue operations, for example.
Elsewhere, 5G could bring about significantly wider adoption of the Internet of Things, making cities smart – and therefore safer, cleaner and more efficient.
For all these benefits that can be forecast, there are plenty more that cannot – and that’s what has got some analysts the most excited. As Ian Fogg of a mobile data analytics company OpenSignal told bbc.co.uk: “Whatever we do now with our smartphones we’ll be able to do faster and better. But what’s really exciting is all the new services that will be built that we can’t foresee.”