Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden has announced that UK mobile providers will be banned from buying new Huawei 5G equipment after 31st December.
The ban also means these providers must must remove all Huawei’s 5G kit from their networks by 2027.
The decision follows sanctions imposed by Washington, which claims the firm poses a national security threat. It will also result in the delay of the UK’s 5G rollout by a year.
Dowden said that the cumulative cost of the moves when coupled with earlier restrictions announced against Huawei would be up to £2 billion.
“This has not been an easy decision, but it is the right one for the UK telecoms networks, for our national security and our economy, both now and indeed in the long run,” he said.
Commenting on the news, head of Cyber at Mishcon de Reya, Joe Hancock said: “The Government has been sensible in giving the telecommunications sector until 2027 to remove Huawei equipment. Huawei equipment is widespread throughout UK telecoms networks and it will take considerable effort to remove. This allows service providers to replace Huawei piece by piece, and removes the need for an immediate change. A different US administration could lead to this change being reversed.
“The sanctions placed on Huawei will impact how products are designed and where their internal components come from, in turn potentially leading to security and reliability issues as these changes are made. Any widespread technology design changes are likely to create security vulnerabilities, even if well tested. If this ban were not in place the UK would need to assure itself that these changes do not undermine national security, which is both an expensive and time consuming exercise.”
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