Despite opposition from the United States, Britain is to yet to decide on a potential role for China's Huawei in developing its 5G telecoms network. However, reports say this will be in a limited capacity after heavy US obstruction on security grounds.
"The UK has a momentous decision ahead on 5G," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted as Washington continued to heap pressure on Prime Minister Boris Johnson up to the last minute in urging a complete sidelining of Huawei.
However a senior UK official last week strongly hinted at a green light for Huawei, while the Financial Times over the weekend reported that Johnson was Tuesday "expected to approve a restricted role".UK ministers are said to be looking to impose a cap on Huawei's market share in the project.
There has meanwhile been widespread speculation that Britain would allow Huawei into "non-core" elements of 5G networks, such as antennae and base stations attached to masts and roofs. The core carries out essential functions such as authenticating subscribers and sending voice and data between devices and is sometimes described as the "brains" or "heart" of a network.
The United States has banned Huawei from the rollout of its next generation 5G mobile networks because of concerns that the firm could be under the control of Beijing. Huawei strongly deny this claim.
Washington has been lobbying Britain to do the same, even threatening to limit intelligence sharing between the two allies should the UK go its own way. Britain has moved to downplay US security fears.
The UK official pointed out that unlike the United States, Britain has been using Huawei technology in its systems for the past 15 years. UK security agencies believe they have managed the risk so far and will be able to do so with the 5G network.
The 5G technology offers almost instantaneous data transfer and is seen as key for technologies such as self-driving cars and remotely operated factory robots.