New UK Review into the Impact of Huawei Equipment Installed as 5G is Rolled Out
UPDATE: Huawei 5G Kit must be Removed from the UK by 2027
On Tuesday 14th July 2020, from a decision that followed a technical review by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) in response to US sanctions, the UK government has ordered telecommunications businesses to remove all Huawei equipment from the UK’s 5G networks by 2027.
Operators shall be required to make a transition from buying new Huawei equipment for use in the full-fibre network over the next two years. In addition to that, buying new Huawei 5G equipment after 31 December 2020 shall be banned.
A report from the Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden told the House of Commons of the decision made on the 14th July. In his statement he said:
“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.”
“Following US sanctions against Huawei and updated technical advice from our cyber experts, the government has decided it is 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 we will have implemented in law an irreversible path for the complete removal of Huawei equipment from our 5G networks.”
Responding to the government’s verdict, Huawei said that the move was “bad news for anyone in the UK with a mobile phone” and threatened to “move Britain into the digital slow lane, push up bills and deepen the digital divide.” The leading global communications provider also urged the UK government to reconsider the move, adding it was “confident” that the new US restrictions “would not have affected the resilience or security of the products we supply.”
The real question is, who will fill Huawei’s shoes?
Nokia and Ericsson are the two other main 5G kit vendors in the UK alongside Huawei.
After the announcement made on the 14th July, both companies released statements with prospect and optimism which offset the adverse statements issued by Huawei.
The head of Nokia Britain, Cormac Whelan, said the following after the UK’s decision to stop using the Chinese manufacturer:
“We have the capacity and expertise to replace all of the Huawei equipment in the UK’s networks at scale and speed and are ready to step up to support the implementation of the UK government decision with minimal impact on the people using our customers’ networks”.
Arun Bansal, the President of Europe and Latin America for Ericsson stated:
“Today’s decision removes the uncertainty that was slowing down investment decisions around the deployment of 5G in the UK. It is now time for the industry to come together and start delivering on the promise of creating a world-leading 5G network for the people, businesses and economy of the UK.”
“Ericsson has the technology, experience and supply chain capacity to help accomplish this, and we stand ready to work with the UK operators to meet their timetable, with no disruption to customers.”
It is paramount that the UK telecommunications market does not let this conclusion affect the roll-out of 5G, and the positive feedback received from Nokia and Ericsson may reassure the public that the telecommunications industry will not slow down as a result of the Huawei ban.
Read more about the review on BBC News – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-53403793