Huawei Coup After UK Decisions on Arm and 5G

Article By : Nitin Dahad

Armv8-A is UK IP, so OK for Huawei. Also, UK's PM is set to allow Huawei into 5G networks.

It appears that the UK is a good place for China right now, on two counts at least. One is Arm confirming that some of its UK-developed architectures are outside the scope of current U.S. export restrictions. The second is news over the weekend suggesting the British Prime Minister is set to allow Huawei supply to non-contentious parts of the 5G network.

If there was any sign that things were getting better for Huawei, it was clear when [EE Times reported]( last month that executives from Arm, Arm China and HiSilicon (Huawei’s chip division) met behind closed doors in Shenzhen, to reassure the Chinese media and local electronics industry of their continuing cooperation.  

Under the current guidelines Arm cannot license any U.S. origin intellectual property (IP) to HiSilicon unless granted an export license by the U.S. Commerce Department, or it has been determined the IP is not of U.S. origin.

Now it appears that, after a comprehensive review, Arm has determined that its Armv8-A architecture, as well as the next generation of that architecture, are of UK origin. As a result, an Arm spokesperson confirmed to EE Times that Arm can provide support to HiSilicon for those specific architectures. She added, “Arm has communicated this to the appropriate U.S. government offices, and we continue to be in compliance with the U.S. Commerce Department guidelines, respective to Huawei and its affiliate HiSilicon.”

5G green light expected
In a completely separate development, the UK’s Sunday Times newspaper reported yesterday that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to endorse his predecessor’s decision to allow Huawei access to the non-contentious parts of the 5G network. The main reason quoted is that the west does not have a good substitute for Huawei technology, which means it would be left behind if it doesn’t use Huawei. One senior government source is quoted in the Sunday Times as saying, “The reality is that if you don’t say yes, you don’t have alternatives. The West has screwed up by allowing Huawei to develop a near-monopoly in this area.”

Earlier this year, the chair of British Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee, the Rt. Hon. Norman Lamb, said, “The benefits of 5G are clear and the removal of Huawei from the current or future networks could cause significant delays.” As we reported, the issues were around ethics and politics rather than the technological one. Lamb emphasized that supply chains for telecommunications networks were global and complex, so a ban on Huawei equipment would not remove potential Chinese influence from the supply chain. He also said it would increase security vulnerability by reducing competition. Lamb also emphasized that his conclusion that Huawei should not be entirely excluded from the UK’s 5G networks is based only on technical considerations, not geo-political.

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