The United Kingdom announced that it will ban the installation of new Huawei 5G networking equipment beginning in September 2021.
“We are taking bold steps to implement one of the toughest telecoms security regimes in the world,” Oliver Dowden, the UK Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport writes in the announcement post. “A central part of that is combating high-risk vendors, and I have set out an unambiguous timetable for the complete removal of Huawei equipment from our 5G networks no later than 2027.”
In the wake of U.S. sanctions against Huawei, the UK this July announced that it would place new controls on the use of Huawei equipment in its 5G networking infrastructure, including the removal of all Huawei equipment from 5G networks by 2027. This new decision puts a timetable on the acquisition of new Huawei 5G equipment while spelling out how the country will diversify its 5G equipment suppliers: The UK is currently relying on just two 5G suppliers, Nokia and Ericsson, a situation that Dowden says is “an intolerable resilience risk.”
But it looks like the UK’s 5G choices all involve risk. Dowden says Huawei and ZTE, both Chinese firms, are “considered to be high risk” due to U.S. sanctions against each. His department has advised UK network operators to stop acquiring Huawei equipment impacted by U.S. sanctions by the end of 2020 and to remove Huawei 5G equipment from the network by the end of 2027 “at the absolute latest.”
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