The UK’s telecommunications regulator said that the small number of equipment suppliers created systemic risks to the country’s networks that may need to be addressed with future regulation, reported Bloomberg.
Sharon White, the chief executive of UK regulator Ofcom, made the remarks amid tensions with the US over whether Britain will permit equipment from Chinese vendor Huawei to be used in the backbone for next-generation 5G telecom services.
The government is currently conducting a review of the telecom industry supply chain to consider issues around security, but also around network resilience. Britain is set to toughen the rules under which Huawei operates in the country while stopping short of an outright ban on the Chinese telecom equipment maker, according to people familiar with the matter.
White, who was speaking at a government-hosted cybersecurity conference in Glasgow, Scotland, implied banning Huawei equipment outright would create other vulnerabilities for UK mobile networks. She said that consolidation among telecommunications equipment vendors had left mobile carriers with little choice over which equipment to choose for some critical parts of their networks.
She said that Ofcom wants these carriers to think harder about diversifying their equipment supply chain in order to make their future networks more resilient.