On Tuesday, the United Kingdom government has announced that China’s Huawei will be completely removed from its 5G networks.
UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is a major set back for the telecommunications giant Huawei. The decision will be a total ban on sales and purchases of 5G kits from December 31, 2020. The decision was taken by the UK’s National Security Council (NSC) chaired by the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
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Many analysts feel that the decision to ban China’s Huawei is to please the United States. At the same time, the UK is keenly observing the sanctions by the US against Huawei.
UK Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Oliver Dowden stated
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,
Further, he said,
Following US sanctions against Huawei and updated technical advice from our cyber experts, the government has decided it 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 (2024) we will have implemented in law an irreversible path for the complete removal of Huawei equipment from our 5G networks,
In response, Huawei from Beijing issued a statement saying –
This disappointing decision 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.
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,
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,
In one sense, the UK’s ban on Huawei seems to be politicized as on one hand the US sanctions against Chinese companies and on the other, Beijing’s decision of implementing a new controversial national security law in Hong Kong which was once a British ruled colony.