The UK government will ban the installation of Huawei devices in the country’s 5G network development by the end of next September, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said last week. The ban is alongside a $333 million (250 million pounds) package effort to diversify wireless 5G resources and clamp down on the Chinese telecom giant.
“I am setting out a clear path for the complete removal of high risk vendors from our 5G networks,” UK Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said in a statement. “This will be done through new and unprecedented powers to identify and ban telecoms equipment which poses a threat to our national security.”
Smartphone companies would have to stop using Huawei’s technology and components to comply with these rules, which would hurt carriers, reduce competition and drive up prices. And the new rules would accelerate the process.
British ministers announced in July that the country’s next generation mobile network will eradicate Huawei’s presence in 2027 due to “security concerns,” and purchases from the Chinese company would be forbidden from 2021. The decision is contradictory to a previous announcement in January, when the government said Huawei could be involved in the country’s 5G network as a marginal player with a capped market share.
The crackdown backs the US sections against the tech giant that barred Huawei’s access to chip suppliers around the world that contain US technology.
The ban was a bad news for everyone who has a smartphone and uses the internet, Huawei’s UK communications director Ed Brewster said during an interview with the BBC back in July.
“This is a US campaign focused on attacking our business and attacking the technology and that is because the US is behind in terms of the technology,” Brewster said.
Telecom carriers in the UK will now depend on a supply duopoly of Finland’s Nokia Oyj and Sweden’s Ericsson AB, which had already gained contracts in the wake of the Huawei ban.
To bring new vendors into the competition and ensure a diverse and fairer market, the UK is launching a new 5G Supply Chain Diversification Strategy, including commitment of $333 million (250 million pounds), a National Telecoms Lab to research security and increase compatibility between vendors, and funded trials with potential challengers like Japan’s NEC Corp.
“Disappointing and wrong decision by the UK on Huawei,” tweeted Xiaoming Liu, Chinese Ambassador to the UK, in July in the wake of the ban. “It has become questionable whether the UK can provide an open, fair and non-discriminatory business environment for companies from other countries.”