International News Jul 14, 2020 3:02 PM EST

Huawei 5G to be removed from UK by 2027

Mobile providers in the UK are being banned from purchasing new 5G equipment from Huawei after Dec. 31, and must remove the company's 5G kit by 2027.

Huawei 5G to be removed from UK by 2027
Sam Edwards High Level, Alberta
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Mobile providers in the UK are being banned from purchasing new 5G equipment from Huawei after December 31, and by 2027 the networks are required to remove all the company’s 5G kit, according to BBC News.

The House of Commons was informed of the decision by Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden and it follows sanctions put in place by Washington claiming that the business is a national security threat. Huawei denies these claims.

Dowden noted that the move would hold back the rollout of the country’s 5G by a year.

He said that it will also be an expensive move and including the cumulative costs of earlier Huawei restrictions, as it could reach up to £2bn.

"This 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," said Dowden.

Huawei called the move "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."

There are also new restrictions being applied towards using Huawei’s broadband kit. The government is asking operators to “transition away” from buying new equipment from the Chinese company for full-fibre network use.

Dowden expected that this would take about two years to complete.

He added that they are providing additional time for broadband to make sure the UK does not become too dependent on Nokia for equipment.

In January, the UK decided that they would allow the company to continue as a supplier but there was a cap introduced on its market share.

New sanctions were then introduced by the U.S. with the intention of disrupting Huawei from manufacturing its own chips.

After this, security officials were not able to assure the security of Huawei’s products if it was forced to use chips from third-parties.

The minister pointed to a review from the National Cyber Security Centre and said it motivated the changes.

"Huawei claims to have stockpiles of parts that they can use, but this obviously affects what the NCSC can say about their products going forward," said the agency's technical director, Dr Ian Levy.

"We think that Huawei products that are adapted to cope with the [sanctions] are likely to suffer more security and reliability problems because of the massive engineering challenge ahead of them, and it will be harder for us to be confident in their use within our mitigation strategy."

The UK’s desire to work out a trade deal with the U.S. also likely came into play along with other political considerations like the way China handled the coronavirus outbreak, and the treatment of Hong Kong.

In the UK, Huawei claims to employ 1,600 people and be one of the largest Chinese sources of investment for Britain.

Dowden noted that Canada’s analysis was similar to Britain’s.

"Each country is looking at how best to protect its telecoms networks but also crucially how they develop their own domestic alternatives," he said.

"The U.S. and Australia have already taken decisions in this respect. I think the Canadians have a similar sort of analysis to us and are yet to make a decision, and New Zealand has a slightly different process."

Last month, Navdeep Bains mentioned that Canada is being pressured by China to integrate the Huawei technology into the country’s 5G network.

"Clearly they are applying pressure, and they recognize that they need to get ahead of this technology and this is, in a geopolitical context, a very important issue and there are many factors that we’re taking into consideration," said Bains.

"We’re an independent, sovereign country, We will decide on our own terms when we want to move forward and proceed with this decision, and we will share that with Canadians. But make no mistake and when it comes to the safety and security of Canadians, that's going to be the central deciding component of how we move forward on rolling out 5G," he said.

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