Huawei, the embattled Chinese telecoms supplier, has warned the UK government it will take up to 5 years to overhaul its software and engineering processes to address Britain’s technical concerns about its equipment.
An official UK watchdog that is overseen by the British government’s National Cyber Security Centre said last summer that it was concerned about “shortcomings” in Huawei’s engineering and product developments that meant it could only provide “limited assurance” about mitigating risks posed to national security by its products.
That warning preceded a wider global debate about Huawei’s equipment being used to build new 5G networks, with the US, Australia and New Zealand banning the supplier from its projects. In December, Huawei pledged to spend $2bn upgrading its processes to address the UK government’s concerns.
But in a letter sent to the Commons science and technology committee last week and made public on Wednesday, the company asked for patience as it completed the overhaul. Ryan Ding, president of Huawei’s carrier business, said in the letter that Huawei’s software engineering “has room for improvement” but warned that any changes would take time.
“Enhancing our software engineering capabilities is like replacing components on a high-speed train in motion,” he said. “It is a complicated and involved process and will take at least three to five years to see tangible results. We hope the UK government can understand this.”