UK government wants to move forward with implementing Huawei 5G ban

Houses of Parliament
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The government has launched a formal consultation on the legal instruments that will implement the ban on Huawei 5G equipment in the UK.

Mobile operators have been invited to submit their views on the legal instruments that will implement the ban on the use of Huawei 5G equipment in their networks as part of a consultation.

In July 2021, the government reversed its previous policy and confirmed all mobile operators would be forbidden from purchasing new Huawei 5G radio gear from 2021 and must remove all equipment installed in their 5G networks by 2027.

Huawei UK

The Telecommunications (Security) Act has since become law and the legal instruments are the next stage in the process. These instruments will include requirements that operators will need to follow with regard to the use of Huawei equipment as well as a notice that designates Huawei as a high-risk vendor.

The consultation also includes proposed measures that would prevent fixed broadband operators from using Huawei gear that has been affected by separate US sanctions.

“The government is committed to ensuring the security and resilience of our phone and internet networks,” declared culture secretary Nadine Dorries. “Last year we brought in new laws to protect UK infrastructure from high-risk vendors and issue tough sanctions on providers which fall short of our high security standards. This consultation marks the next step in removing the risks posed by Huawei.”

The government has reiterated that the National Cyber Security Council (NCSC) has been consulted at every stage of the process and that it will consider the views of the industry before making any final decision.

Huawei has had a presence in the UK for two decades and it was the awarding of a contract by BT in 2005 that accelerated the firm’s international expansion. Since then, Huawei had become a supplier for all four mobile operators.

It has persistently denied any allegations of wrongdoing or that its equipment represents a security risk.

“We note the government’s consultation and will continue to support our UK customers with our network equipment, which is recognised as being among the most secure and trusted in the world,” a Huawei spokesperson told TechRadar Pro. 

“Political pressures have already forced the Government to exclude Huawei from 5G, delaying its rollout by several years. These same pressures will jeopardise the rollout of fibre broadband, unnecessarily pushing up costs for businesses and families. The country has the right to expect decisions to be made based on facts rather than unfounded security concerns.”

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Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.