UK to stop use of Huawei 5G equipment by 2027

by Maruf Adedeji

The United Kingdom has decided to ban all its mobile providers from purchasing new Huawei 5G equipment effective from 2021.

UK has also declared that all the Chinese firm’s 5G kit should be removed from the networks of its mobile providers.

The decision was disclosed by UK’s Digital Secretary, Oliver Dowden, in a statement to the House of Commons, while adding that the move would delay the country’s rollout by a year.

Washington had earlier claimed that the firm poses a national security threat and consequently imposed sanctions on it.

“The cummulative cost of this, and earlier restrictions announced against Huawei earlier in the year, would be up to £2bn,” Mr Dowden said.

He explained that it was not a difficult decision, but it was a right one for the UK telecoms networks, for the UK’s national security and economy at all times.

US sanctions affect only future equipment while Huawei’s supply of 2G, 3G and 4G equipment does not pose any security threat, according to experts’ advice to the government.

Huawei reacted to the move by calling it a sad news for UK people with mobile phones and threatened to slow down Britain’s digital lane, push up bills and deepen the digital divide.

Network operators would need to transition away within the next two years from dealing in new Huawei equipment for use in the full-fibre network, according to the experts’ advice to the government.

Mr Dowden said it was high time the UK became independent of some equipment, instead of its reliance on Nokia as the only equipment supplier.

“I wanted to avoid unnecessary delays to the government’s gigabit-for-all by 2025 pledge,” he added.

Despite this move, UK would, however, allow Huawei to operate and sell its smartphones to consumers.

Some Tory MPs had also knocked harder against any longer time-span for its removal and had demanded earlier ban of the 5G before the next election in 2024.

BT and Vodafone cautioned that many mobile network users could experience total mobile shutdowns if they were coerced to abruptly stall all Huawei’s 5G kit.

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