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Grayson Green
Grayson Green

The UK Is Set To Permit Huawei Equipment In 5G Networks In €?limited Role’

As a result, ministers today agreed that UK operators should stop the purchase of Huawei equipment affected by the sanctions. There will be a ban on the purchase of new Huawei kit for 5G from next year and it will be completely removed from 5G networks by the end of 2027.

The UK is set to permit Huawei equipment in 5G networks in ‘limited role’

However, the Commerce Department has allowed some business activities that it says do not pose significant risks to U.S. national security, and it has temporarily granted licenses for some U.S. companies, such as Microsoft, to continue selling their products to Huawei. Since Huawei was placed on the entity list, the department has repeatedly extended ninety-day licenses that allow Huawei to continue limited work with some U.S. companies, particularly telecommunications companies working in rural areas that depend on its equipment.

Chinese, Japanese and South Korean companies have long played an important role in telecommunications markets around the world. In fact, Huawei and ZTE from China as well as Nec (Japan) or Samsung (South Korea) are key suppliers in current 4G networks. However, the role of Chinese companies in 5G communications has a very different connotation.

Crucially, the NCSC did not change its risk assessment of pre-sanction Huawei equipment, and so the government is permitting telecom companies to continue using it until the end of 2027. In other words, while the July 14 decision was about banning Huawei, it was also about allowing it until 2027, suggesting an element of continuity rather than that of change. BT and Vodafone lobbied hard to secure a long transition period to save cost and they seem to be generally content with the result. Interestingly, BT says that it will not have to change its cost estimate as a result of the new decision.

On Tuesday, the UK government announced it has banned mobile providers in the country from buying new Huawei 5G equipment after the end of 2020. And it said all Huawei 5G equipment must be removed from their networks by 2027.

The decision comes six months after the UK allowed(Opens in a new tab) the Chinese company to have a limited role in Britain's 5G networks. The UK's National Cyber Security Centre was previously reported as saying that Huawei 5G equipment does not present very big risks for the country.

In January, ministers announced Huawei could play a limited role in the 5G network, despite warnings that its equipment could be used by China for espionage or to disrupt the UK's critical national infrastructure.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) - which previously supported the decision to allow it a limited role in the 5G network - is said to have advised that the move means its equipment could no longer be considered secure.

Now, as Beijing seeks to extend its security powers over Hong Kong, anti-Huawei sentiment is rising in parliament once again. In order to ward off an embarrassing defeat, the government reportedly intends to stop vendors from buying new Huawei equipment by the end of this year, along with its removal from the 5G networks by 2026-27 and full extraction by 2029. The government had initially been considering barring telecoms companies from buying new Huawei kit by 2023, but Tory backbenchers wanted more imminent action and are pushing for the firm to be banned from 5G networks by the same date.

"In addition, requiring operators to remove Huawei equipment from their 5G networks by 2027 will add further hundreds of millions of pounds to the cost and will further delay the rollout. That means a cumulative delay to 5G rollout of two to three years, and costs of up to 2bn. That will have real consequences for the connections on which all our constituents rely."

But the company has come under fire in Britain since a government report in July last year found that technical and supply-chain issues with its equipment had exposed national telecoms networks to new security risks.

The report says the upcoming 5G summit is intended to gather information from the tech industry to help the White House press its case with allied countries that they should not allow Huawei equipment into their telecommunications networks.

Britain granted Huawei a limited role in its future 5G networks in January, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson has since come under renewed pressure from Washington and some lawmakers in his own party who say the company's equipment is a security risk. 350c69d7ab


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