The United Kingdom will ban Huawei from its 5G network by ordering telecommunications companies to remove its equipment by 2027, Britain’s Media Secretary Oliver Dowden said on Tuesday, according to Reuters.
“The National Cyber Security Centre has now reported to ministers, that they have significantly changed their security assessment of Huawei’s presence in the UK’s 5G network,” Dowden told the House of Commons. The remarks came after Prime Minister Boris Johnson led a meeting of the country’s National Security Council.
As part of the ban, operators will no longer be able to buy 5G components from Huawei from the end of 2020, and were also told to remove all current Huawei gear made by the Chinese company from the 5G network by 2027.
Huawei urged the United Kingdom government to reconsider the move, and said that London had reacted to pressure from the United States instead of acting on actual security concerns. “I think this is clear this is not about security this is about trade,” Huawei’s UK Communications Director Ed Brewster told BBC. “This is a US campaign focused on attacking our business and attacking the technology and that is because the US is behind on the technology. We are in a long-term...trade dispute escalation from the US around how it wants to retain technology leadership.”
Brewster also refuted speculations about China’s influence on the company’s functioning, adding that it was a private technology firm. “That’s the perception but it’s incorrect,” he said. “The trust we’ve built up around the world is with our customers [and] the telecoms networks. We don’t work for governments, we work for the telecoms networks.”
In May, the Donald Trump-led US administration introduced fresh sanctions that disrupted Huawei’s ability to get its chips manufactured. The US claims that the company allows China to surveil and potentially attack countries that use its equipment.
On June 30, the United States Federal Communications Commission, the country’s telecommunications regulator, declared Chinese telecom giants Huawei and ZTE Corporation as “national security threats”. All their parent firms as well as subsidiaries and associate firms were also designated this way.
After United Kingdom’s decision on Tuesday, Trump said: “We convinced many countries, many countries – and I did this myself for the most part – not to use Huawei because we think it’s an unsafe security risk, it’s a big security risk.”
Meanwhile, Chinese envoy to the UK Liu Xiaoming expressed his disappointment over the Johnson-led administration’s move. “Disappointing and wrong decision by the UK on Huawei,” he tweeted on Tuesday. “It has become questionable whether the UK can provide an open, fair and non-discriminatory business environment for companies from other countries.”