Chinese tech giant Huawei has urged ministers not to restrict its involvement in rolling out 5G services across Britain.
In January, the firm got the green light to supply “non-core” elements of the network in a move that stoked tensions with US President Donald Trump.
But senior Tories have threatened a Commons showdown this summer to try to limit the company’s access to the end of 2022.
Critics claim using its technology would be a security risk and could facilitate spying by the Chinese government – a claim the company strongly denies.
Huawei has now published an open letter in which it says it is keen to keep Britons connected during the coronavirus outbreak.
Its UK chief, Victor Zhang, said there had been a 50% boost in home data use during the outbreak in Britain.
He wrote: “There are those who choose to continue to attack us without presenting any evidence.
“Disrupting our involvement in the 5G rollout would do Britain a disservice.”
The conditions for Huawei’s involvement in expanding the 5G network in Britain include it being excluded from all safety-related networks and sensitive geographic locations such as nuclear sites and military bases, as well as it having a 35% cap in non-sensitive parts of the 5G network.
Mr Johnson managed to see off a bid by rebel Tories to limit its involvement further just over two months ago – including from former leader Iain Duncan Smith and former cabinet ministers.
But some of them warned the real battle would come later this year.