The United Kingdom has banned telecommunications companies operating in the nation from using 5G kits by Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, ordering an effective phase-out by 2027.
This is U-turn from the country’s previous decision to continue with Huawei’s 5G services and the move comes after advice produced by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), according to a government release.
Any types of equipment from the Chinese tech giant must be phased out from the nation within 2027, the government has said, adding that until the full phase-out ‘there will be a total ban on the purchase of any new 5G kit after 31 December 2020.’
Agence France Presse noted that the UK decision is a major win for the US, which has under the Trump administration gotten into geopolitical trade with Beijing and heavily campaigned against employing Huawei, branding the company as Beijing’s tool.
UK’s announcement also comes amid growing scrutiny on China by many countries including the US and India since the pandmeic broke out, and the more recently, perhaps more provocative, the deadly India-China face-off in Ladakh’s Galwan valley region, where at least 20 Indian soldiers lost their lives in bloody fisticuffs.
“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,” British Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden told the House of Commons, the BBC reports.
However, the move will come with some costs, UK’s 5G rollout will be delayed for a year, Dowden confirmed. Huawei responded to the UK’s move by slamming it as “bad news for anyone in the UK with a mobile phone,” and that it could “move Britain into the digital slow lane, push up bills and deepen the digital divide.”
“We remain confident that the new US restrictions would not have affected the resilience or security of the products we supply to the UK,” Huawei said.
(Cover image courtesy of Kārlis Dambrāns via Flickr)