Some British unis stand by Huawei despite security concerns

LONDON • A number of universities in Britain are standing by Chinese tech giant Huawei despite security concerns raised by other Western bodies, including the United Nations and Nato.

Several organisations in Britain, including Oxford University and Prince Charles's personal charity the Prince's Trust, severed ties with the technology company recently.

National mobile phone network Vodafone said it will temporarily halt use of the company's equipment in its core mobile-phone networks, and telecoms company BT said it would remove Huawei equipment from its 4G network.

But University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh Napier University, which have teaching and research partnerships with Huawei, and Police Scotland, which uses the firm's broadband devices, have rejected concerns around the security of Huawei products.

Huawei makes equipment such as base stations, switches and routers, as well as consumer products such as smartphones. But there has been concern from some Western nations that the Chinese government could use Huawei's technology for espionage, an allegation the company and the Chinese government have rejected.

"We use mobile Internet devices by the manufacturer Huawei with the Internet service provided by Vodafone," said Police Scotland. "This service does not directly connect to our network."

Huawei has partnered with a number of British universities on academic research in recent years.


The University of Edinburgh has received £5.1 million (S$9 million) in its partnership with the tech firm for a laboratory dedicated to data research. "As with any research partnership that we undertake, this has undergone a rigorous process of due diligence and is the result of long-term collaboration between experts at the University of Edinburgh and Huawei," said a university spokesman.

Edinburgh Napier University, which collaborates with Huawei in information and communications technology, said: "Our relationship... is focused on teaching programmes rather than research projects."

Huawei has also made sizeable donations and investments for technology projects at other universities, including at University of Surrey's 5G Innovation Centre, engineering school Imperial College London and at Manchester University's National Graphene Institute.

"We have no plans to change our relationship with Huawei but will monitor developments," said Manchester University, referring to Huawei's £90 million investment in the institute.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 02, 2019, with the headline 'Some British unis stand by Huawei despite security concerns'. Subscribe