The culture secretary of the UK government, Oliver Dowden said the United Kingdom doesn’t need Huawei’s telecommunications equipment anymore. He said mobile operators shouldn’t buy the company’s 5G equipment from December 31st, 2020. Dowden informed members of parliament in the House of Commons and said, “Once the telecoms security bill is passed, it will be illegal for them to do so. If a provider has already bought or installed Huawei hardware, it must be removed from their 5G networks before the end of 2027”. The UK government issued a press release and said it has made the decision following new advice by the National Cyber Security Center. Point to be noted that the UK said in January there are high-risk vendors including Huawei would be allowed to build the country’s 5G network, provided they weren’t core parts of it.
Dowden added, “The UK government has clearly changed its mind. 5G will be transformative for our country, but only if we have confidence in the security and resilience of the infrastructure it is built upon”. Huawei has called the decision disappointing. A spokesperson for Huawei UK, Edward Brewster said, “It threatens to move Britain into the digital slow lane, push up bills and deepen the digital divide. Instead of leveling up the government is leveling down and we urge them to reconsider”. It is noteworthy that the recent announcement specifically covers 5G infrastructure. The UK has used Huawei’s telecommunications equipment for some time, in both its mobile and fiber broadband networks.
It is important that British Telecom owns mobile network operator EE, confirmed in December 2018 that it had already started removing Huawei equipment from its 4G network. It is still unclear how much remains at this time and whether the government has any plans to completely outlaw the company’s gear in 3G and 4G-related infrastructure. Now, the UK government has clearly pointed out that it would like to slowly phase out Huawei’s presence in the nation’s fiber broadband. The government has now advised network operators to transition away from buying new Huawei equipment. A press release issued from the UK government and said, “We expect this period to last no longer than two years”. The announcement follows the US government’s decision to ban American companies from buying telecom equipment with a perceived national security risk.