UK bans installation of Huawei 5G equipment from September

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The logo of the Chinese company Huawei at its main UK offices in Reading, west London on January 28, 2020.
Daniel Leal-Olivas | AFP via Getty Images
LONDON – Britain on Monday detailed its intention to phase out Huawei from its 5G networks, setting a September 2021 deadline for operators to stop installing the Chinese company’s equipment.
The British government decided to ban Huawei’s 5G equipment over the summer, reversing the trend after increased pressure from the United States. Westminster initially granted Huawei a limited role in the UK 5G rollout.

Washington has imposed devastating sanctions on Huawei, saying the Shenzhen-based company could allow the Beijing government to spy on sensitive communications. For its part, Huawei denies the American allegations.

In July, UK Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said mobile network operators would be forced to stop purchasing Huawei equipment from the end of 2020 and withdraw the company’s equipment entirely from their infrastructure by 2027.

Supply chain diversification

Now, Dowden has established a roadmap to reduce Huawei’s 5G market share in the country to zero.
A key measure is the ban on installing Huawei equipment in 5G networks from September 30, 2021. However, operators will be allowed to keep Huawei equipment installed before that date.

Meanwhile, the UK is also expected to spend £ 250million ($ 333million) to help diversify its 5G supply chain. The government is establishing a National Telecoms Lab research center and funding a trial with the Japanese NEC to develop innovative open radio technology for 5G.

“Today, I am charting a clear path for the complete removal of high-risk vendors from our 5G networks,” Dowden said in a statement Monday.

“This will be done through unprecedented new powers to identify and ban telecommunications equipment that poses a threat to our national security. ”

Huawei declined to comment when contacted by CNBC. The company has already warned of the economic damage the UK ban would inflict, saying it could delay the rollout of 5G broadband internet in the country by years.

British lawmakers will debate the new Telecommunications Security Bill – which includes the new rules on Huawei – at second reading in parliament on Monday.

Last week it was announced that UK carriers will be fined up to 10% of their income or £ 100,000 ($ 133,000) a day if they don’t play by the rules.

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