Huawei’s long-running battle with the US government is well documented and now the UK has banned its mobile providers from buying new Huawei 5G network equipment from December 31. The UK government has also given all mobile providers until 2027 to remove all Huawei’s 5G kits from their networks, the BBC reports.
The new sanction would delay 5G rollout in the UK by a year. Its cumulative cost and the earlier restrictions placed against the Chinese firm earlier in the year amounts to £2bn, explains Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden.
“We have been clear-eyed from the start that the Chinese-owned vendors Huawei and ZTE were deemed to be high risk”, Dowden said in a statement to the House of Commons. “The NCSC has now reported to ministers that they have significantly changed their security assessment of Huawei’s presence in the UK 5G network.”
“Given the uncertainty this creates around Huawei’s supply chain, the UK can no longer be confident it will be able to guarantee the security of future Huawei 5G equipment affected by the change in the US foreign direct product rules. The best way to secure our networks is for operators to stop using new affected Huawei equipment to build the UK’s future 5G networks.”
“It has not been an easy decision, but it is the right one for the UK telecoms networks, for our national security and our economy, both now and indeed in the long run,” Dowden said.
Reacting to the ban, Huawei said its “bad news for anyone in the UK with a mobile phone” and threatened to “move Britain into the digital slow lane, push up bills and deepen the digital divide.”
Huawei will still be able to sell its smartphones in the UK as the ban does not affect that.