Huawei, the world's largest manufacturer of telecommunications equipment, has been on the defensive in recent months, as the US government has been pushing for the company's technology to be banned and claiming it can be used by China to spy. Australia and New Zealand have already blocked mobile operators from using Huawei for 5G networks, and other governments, including Britain, are examining the situation.
The National Cyber Security Center refused to comment on Monday about the details of the Financial Times report but said in a statement that it has "a unique overview and understanding of Huawei technology and cyber security."
The intelligence service plays an important role in a broader British government service examining the security of technology that operators plan to use in 5G networks in the country.
"The review looks at a number of options and will be completed in the spring. No decisions have been made and any suggestion to the contrary is incorrect" The Department of Culture, Media and Sport said in a statement Monday.
Monday, a spokesman for Huawei said the company advocates an open dialogue on security.
"Cyber security is a problem that must be dealt with throughout the industry," said the chairman in a statement. "We are still focused on working with our customers to help them deliver world-leading technology."
A potential split for Five Eyes?
If the British government decides that Huawei equipment can be used for 5G, it is likely to affect relations with Washington.
Vice President Mike Pence said Saturday that the United States has been "very clear" with their security partners about the threat from Huawei and other Chinese telecom companies.
"We need to protect our critical telecom infrastructure and America urges all our security partners to be vigilant and to reject any company that would compromise the integrity of our communications technology or our national security systems," Pence told the Munich Security Conference participants.
A British government's control panel overseeing Huawei's operations in the UK warned last year that it could only provide "limited assurance" that the company's telecom equipment does not pose a threat to national security.
The control panel also said that "technical problems" had been identified in Huawei's technical processes, leading to "new risks in the UK's telecommunications network."
Great Britain could influence others
"Over the years we have worked with Huawei, we have not yet seen anything that gives us cause for concern," says Marc Allera, CEO of BT's consumer brands.