HUAWEI will be completely removed from the UK’s 5G networks by the end of 2027, the government has announced.
The decision follows new advice produced by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) on the impact of US sanctions against the telecommunications vendor.
Ahead of this there will be a total ban on the purchase of any new 5G kit after 31 December 2020.
The decision was taken today in a meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) chaired by the Prime Minister, in response to new US sanctions. These were imposed on Huawei in May, after the UK’s initial decision on high risk vendors, and are the first of their kind removing the firm’s access to products which have been built based on US semiconductor technology.
Technical experts at the NCSC reviewed the consequences of the 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 and there are no alternatives which we have sufficient confidence in. They found the new restrictions make it impossible to continue to guarantee the security of Huawei equipment in the future.
As a result, ministers today agreed that UK operators should stop the purchase of Huawei equipment affected by the sanctions. There will be a ban on the purchase of new Huawei kit for 5G from next year and it will be completely removed from 5G networks by the end of 2027.
The decision takes into account our specific national circumstances and how the risks from these sanctions are manifested in the UK.
The existing restrictions on Huawei in sensitive and critical parts of the network remain in place.
Huawei has said the decision to ban it from the UK’s 5G network will push Britain “into the digital slow lane”, and push bills up for consumers.
“Instead of ‘levelling up’, the Government is levelling down and we urge them to reconsider,” said spokesman Ed Brewster.
He added: “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 politicised, 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.