Telecom networks in the UK may be asked to start replacing Huawei equipment by the end of the year.
Update, July 14 (10:00 am ET): Huawei has called the decision disappointing and urged the UK government to reconsider.
Update, July 14 (8:00 am ET): All mobile providers in the UK will have to remove Huawei gear from their networks by 2027.
What you need to know
- The UK may soon begin phasing out Huawei equipment from its 5G networks.
- An exact timeframe for the removal of existing Huawei equipment, however, hasn’t been decided yet.
- In January, Prime Minister Boris Johnson allowed Huawei to help develop the country’s next-gen 5G network, although with a 35% cap on involvement.
Earlier this year, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave the green light to Huawei to help build the country’s next-generation 5G networks in a limited capacity. According to a new report from Bloomberg, however, the UK is set to begin phasing out Huawei equipment from its 5G networks as soon as this year.
A report prepared by the National Cybersecurity Centre, which is set to be presented to Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week, has concluded that Huawei will be forced to use untrusted technology due to the new U.S. sanctions. The latest sanctions, which were announced in May, bar Huawei from using technology that relies on American intellectual property.
Officials in the UK are now reportedly drafting proposals to bar Huawei equipment in the country’s 5G networks and have the existing Huawei tech removed by the end of the year. As of now, however, an exact timeframe hasn’t been finalized. No date has been set for a cross-government discussion at the National Security Council either.
If the UK does ban Huawei completely and ask networks to replace existing equipment, it could delay the planned upgrade of the nation’s telecom networks to “gigabit speeds,” which is currently expected to be completed by 2025. It would also significantly increase costs for the country’s telecom networks.
Update, July 14 (10:00 am ET) — Huawei issues an official statement on the UK government decision
Huawei has issued a statement calling the decision “disappointing” and that it will move Britain “into the digital slow lane.”
Statement regarding UK government decisionEd Brewster, a spokesperson for Huawei UK, said: “This disappointing decision is bad news for anyone in the UK with a mobile phone. It threatens to move Britain into the digital slow lane, push up bills and deepen the digital divide.”1/4 pic.twitter.com/A0V7O1LQmr
— HuaweiUK (@HuaweiUK) July 14, 2020
Update, July 14 (8:00 am ET) — UK bans use of Huawei 5G equipment
UK Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden today announced that all mobile networks in the country will have to get rid of Huawei 5G equipment by 2027. The UK has also banned networks from purchasing new 5G equipment from the Chinese company after December 31. As per Dowden, the move will delay the upgrade of the nations’ telecom networks to 5G by 2-3 years. The only UK network that won’t be affected by this decision is O2, which doesn’t rely on Huawei equipment
Huawei and ZTE have been designated as national security threats by the FCC