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Government removes Huawei from UK 5G

The UK government has made the decision to “completely remove” Huawei from 5G networks by the end of 2027.

According to a statement, the move comes in the light of “new advice” produced by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) “on the impact of US sanctions [issued in May] against the telecommunications vendor.” There will also be a total ban on the purchase of any new Huawei 5G equipment after the end of this year.

Speaking of the decision, a spokesperson for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, said: “Technical experts at the NCSC reviewed the consequences of the [US] sanctions and concluded the company will need to do a major reconfiguration of its supply chain as it will no longer have access to the technology on which it currently relies.

“There are no alternatives which we have sufficient confidence in. They [also] found the new restrictions make it impossible to continue to guarantee the security of Huawei equipment in the future. The existing restrictions on Huawei in sensitive and critical parts of the network will also remain in place.”

The government is also advising current full fibre broadband operators to “transition away” from purchasing new Huawei equipment. It has predicted that the timetable for this transition should be no longer than two years, following a planned technical consultation.

UK digital secretary Oliver Dowden said: “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. Following US sanctions against Huawei, and updated technical advice from our cyber experts, the government has decided it is necessary to ban Huawei from our 5G networks.

“This decisive move provides the industry with the clarity and certainty it needs to get on with delivering 5G across the UK. By the time of the next election we will have implemented in law an irreversible path for the complete removal of Huawei equipment from our 5G networks.”

Responding to the decision, Huawei UK’s Ed Brewster said: "This 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. We remain confident that the new US restrictions would not have affected the resilience or security of the products we supply to the UK.

“We will conduct a detailed review of what today’s announcement means for our business here, and will work with the UK government to explain how we can continue to contribute to a better-connected Britain."

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