The UK government has this afternoon announced that all Huawei equipment should be removed from the country’s 5G networks by the end of 2027.

The decision follows restrictions placed on Huawei by the US in May. While the UK did give Huawei restricted access to its 5G network earlier this year it appears as if the additional restrictions placed on Huawei are the reason for today’s announcement.

“Technical experts at the NCSC [National Cyber Security Centre] reviewed the consequences of the sanctions and concluded the company will need to do a major reconfiguration of its supply chain as it will no longer have access to the technology on which it currently relies and there are no alternatives which we have sufficient confidence in,” the government said in a statement.

“They found the new restrictions make it impossible to continue to guarantee the security of Huawei equipment in the future.”

With this in mind, UK ministers have agreed that UK operators should stop the purchase of Huawei equipment affected by the sanctions. What’s more is that the purchase of Huawei 5G equipment will be banned from 31st December 2020.

This ban however does not include Huawei tech in the UK’s fibre broadband networks, at least not right now.

“The UK has managed Huawei’s presence in the UK’s fixed access networks since 2005 and we also need to avoid a situation where broadband operators are reliant on a single supplier for their equipment. As a result, following security advice from our world leading experts, we are advising full fibre operators to transition away from purchasing new Huawei equipment. A technical consultation will determine the transition timetable, but we expect this period to last no longer than two years,” said the government.

The UK uses Nokia and Huawei for its fixed line broadband infrastructure.

The question now becomes whether other countries will take the UK’s lead. Here in South Africa, MTN just launched it’s 5G network which makes use of Huawei equipment.

While the UK’s fear that Huawei won’t be able to source components or provide support when needed is warranted, that is assuming that Huawei doesn’t reconfigure its supply chain.

We have yet to hear from Huawei in regards to this announcement but we will be sure to share that statement should we receive it.

[Source – Government UK]
Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.