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Huawei 5G kit banned from sale the UK from next year, must be swapped out by 2028

The UK government has unveiled its revised position regarding Huawei’s involvement in the UK’s 5G networks, banning the vendor from the UK market at the end of this year.

“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,” said Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden. “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.

“No new kit is to be added from January 2021, and UK 5G networks will be Huawei free by the end of 2027. 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.”

This means Huawei will cease to be an active participant in the UK telecoms industry from next year, presumably limited to fulfilling existing maintenance commitments. Giving UK operators a further seven years to swap out all their existing Huawei kit is presumably an attempt to meet the likes of Vodafone and BT, who have recently been moaning about what a massive hassle it will all be, in the middle.

“This disappointing decision is bad news for anyone in the UK with a mobile phone,” said Ed Brewster, a spokesperson for Huawei UK. “It threatens to move Britain into the digital slow lane, push up bills and deepen the digital divide. Instead of ‘levelling up’ the government is levelling down and we urge them to reconsider. We remain confident that the new US restrictions would not have affected the resilience or security of the products we supply to the UK.

“Regrettably our future in the UK has become politicized, this is about US trade policy and not security. Over the past 20 years, Huawei has focused on building a better connected UK. As a responsible business, we will continue to support our customers as we have always done. 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.”

“Today’s decision removes the uncertainty that was slowing down investment decisions around the deployment of 5G in the UK,” said Arun Bansal, President of Europe and Latin America at Ericsson. “It is now time for the industry to come together and start delivering on the promise of creating a world-leading 5G network for the people, businesses and economy of the UK. Ericsson has the technology, experience and supply chain capacity to help accomplish this, and we stand ready to work with the UK operators to meet their timetable, with no disruption to customers.”

The decision comes immediately after UK PM Johnson chaired a meeting of the National Cyber Security Centre, which has been mulling the matter over. You can see its findings here, which are an amendment to the guidance it offered at the start of the year. The U-turn seems to be entirely down to the US announcement in May restricting Huawei’s access to the semiconductor industry. What seems more likely, however, is that the UK bowed to US diplomatic pressure and is seeking to disguise that fact.

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17 comments

  1. Avatar Dr David Wong 14/07/2020 @ 2:06 pm

    Good decision. Although rather too little too late.

    Huawei clearly doesn’t comply with modern slave labour act in UK and is complicit with CCP helping to detain hundreds of thousands of Uighur Muslims in so-called re-education camps, pretty much concentration camps.

    The CCP is a racist, arrogant thuggish party that seeks export its foul influence around the world through the likes of companies such as Huawei. Trump is bad, but at least he can be voted out and we can have a decent leader of the free world. Xi is President for life in Mainland China. As long as Huawei is based in Mainland China, it is beholden to the orders of Xi Jinping and the CCP.

    It is not China the place or the Chinese people that are the enemy, it’s the CCP.

    • Avatar Tom 14/07/2020 @ 2:27 pm

      Dr David, I think you are wong.

    • Avatar Martin Banks 14/07/2020 @ 4:20 pm

      Yet this is an action taken by a racist, arrogant thuggish party, and put the UK many years behind the rest of the world in all those technologies such as AI that the UK Government has claimed we will be leader in. And if that worked it might just have been the saviour of Brexit. But now the Government has blown that up. It has made an already very bad situation infinitely worse, just to please POTUS45 who, because the USA is so far behind on 5G, can do nothing to help us at all. It deserves one of those glorious ironic rounds of applause

    • Avatar ladakhchina 14/07/2020 @ 4:49 pm

      no!garbage country uk must pay consequence for its action against the huawei.india australia usa canada japan sinjapore also have big consequence too.these country all need behave and listen to the beijing!all the muslim is the terrorist.huawei is very good company coz it help stop the muslim terrorist in the xinjiang and make china very strong.chinese nation race superior to all thats why we have best company!

  2. Avatar Andy Tiller 14/07/2020 @ 2:24 pm

    Not commenting either way on your political statements, but shouldn’t we see some evidence that the CCP actually can use Huawei kit installed in global networks to export its influence around the world? No matter what your politics, there should be some evidence and logic for technology decisions. As far as I can see it’s all political FUD.

    • Avatar Dr David Wong 14/07/2020 @ 3:41 pm

      Sure, let’s wait to see some public evidence of tangible interference. That way, the CCP can be allowed to wreck havoc on our whole telecommunications and digital infrastructure. After all, we can always trust the word of the CCP, whether it be over the virus, promises over Hong Kong, no forced sterilisations for Uighur women to bring down the Muslim population in Xinjiang, Muslim concentration camps in Xinjiang and, of course, over the fact that they have no influence whatsoever over Huawei. That way, telcos can keep buying up cheap Huawei kit without thinking of the security, not to mention moral, consequences and won’t be faced with the inconvenience of replacing kit.

    • Avatar Martin Banks 14/07/2020 @ 4:28 pm

      You’re quite right of course, but you will never see such evidence. If pressured the Government will hide behind the standard response that to present any evidence will simply give `our enemies information about our security technologies, techniques and processes’. Huawei has spent $2 bn setting up the resources for customer engineers (and US spooks) to come and find the back door and they have failed so far.

    • Avatar Wonkyu Lee 14/07/2020 @ 5:18 pm

      Please study Asian history and the role of China. You find Nazi is an innocent kid compared to any Chinese empires.

  3. Avatar Wonkyu Lee 14/07/2020 @ 4:55 pm

    If you read and study the history of China, you will understand why other Asian counties hate them so much, They have been abusing neighboring countries throughout the history. Any telecom product from China should be banned. Don’t trust Chinese government. Eventually they will stab in the back. History proves.

    • Avatar Andy 15/07/2020 @ 12:05 am

      I think I agree that it is ultimately about trust. But there has also been plenty of oppression and exploitation of China by Western powers (Opium Wars, the Unequal Treaties, the Treaty of Versailles…), so history doesn’t really prove one side or another is more trustworthy. Of course nations can’t always trust each other, but I would still prefer our governments to be cooperative in the interests of world peace and prosperity.

      • Avatar Dr David Wong 15/07/2020 @ 12:06 pm

        Andy, it is indeed a fine attribute to make a habit of self reflection and criticise elements of one’s own history, unlike what happens in Mainland China.

        40 million Chinese citizens died at the hands of the CCP during the Cultural Revolution. That’s double the amount of Chinese killed during both Opium Wars and World War Two combined. So the CCP has killed more Mainland Chinese citizens with one disastrous policy than the amount killed during foreign wars. Not forgetting this isn’t including other such atrocities as the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre and many others.

        • Avatar ladakhchina 15/07/2020 @ 1:42 pm

          you shut up!dont talk those thing.china govenment now strong and put chinese nation race first.tiananmen square good place in the beijing nothing ever happen there.

    • Avatar Phil Young 15/07/2020 @ 3:43 am

      Read true Chinese history book, you idiot! When you are talking about CCP’s devilry, I might agree with you. But you are misreading Chinese history!

      • Avatar Wonkyu Lee 16/07/2020 @ 1:56 am

        Please stay in any Asian county such as, Japan, Viet Nam, Korea or Thailand for few days, ask people around what they think of Chinese government in general, I wonder what you will hear from them. In Chinese culture, “fairness and honesty” are not something that they value and honor. Just remember that China banned Winnie the Pooh because someone looked like the bear. Please don’t let your entire national security run under a untrustworthy thug.

  4. Avatar Andre 15/07/2020 @ 9:31 am

    The Chinese companies and government are by no means saints, but to start a trade war with their biggest tech company is absolute madness. China will retaliate and it will hurt the UK a lot more than China since the UK market on its own, is totally insignificant when compared to the rest of the world. If network operators take more control of their networks and stop the over-reliance on suppliers when it comes to the installation, configuration, administration and maintenance they can reduce the risk of any data leaks. Instead operators have been outsourcing almost everything to vendors giving them virtually unlimited access to their systems and data.

  5. Avatar Wonkyu Lee 19/07/2020 @ 3:55 am

    China has a long history of cheating. They put the cheating the second highest social norm next to the unlimited royalty to their corrupted government.
    https://www.lamag.com/citythinkblog/ucla-cheating/

    In 2018 a professor at UC Santa Barbara told the Los Angeles Times that Chinese students comprise 6 percent of the student body but account for a third of plagiarism cases

    Few suggest that Chinese students, who make up a third of all international students in the U.S., cheat at higher rates than students from other foreign countries.

    In 2016 Reuters reported that the University of Iowa was investigating at least 30 students—most, if not all, believed to be Chinese—over allegations of cheating.

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