The UK has banned the installation of Huawei 5G equipment since September


The logo of the Chinese company Huawei at its main UK offices in Reading, West London on January 28, 2020.

Daniel Leal-Olivas | AFP via Getty Images

LONDON – Britain has detailed plans on Monday to phase out Huawei from its 5G networks, setting a deadline of September 2021 for carriers to stop installing the Chinese company’s tools.

The UK government decided to ban 5G equipment from Huawei over the summer, reversing course after heightened US pressure. Westminster initially granted Huawei a limited role in 5G distribution in the UK.

Washington has imposed devastating sanctions on Huawei, arguing that the Shenzhen-based company could allow the Beijing government to spy on sensitive communications. For its part, Huawei denies the US allegations.

In July, UK Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said mobile network operators would be forced to stop purchasing Huawei equipment by the end of 2020 and completely remove the company’s equipment from their infrastructure by 2027.

Diversification of the supply chain

Now, Dowden has mapped out a roadmap to reduce Huawei’s 5G market share in the country to zero.

A key measure is a ban on the installation of Huawei equipment in 5G networks from 30 September 2021. Carriers will, however, be able to keep Huawei equipment installed before this date.

Meanwhile, the UK will also spend £ 250 million ($ 333 million) to diversify its 5G supply chain. The government is setting up a research facility of the National Telecoms Lab and is funding a trial with Japan’s NEC to develop innovative open radio technology for 5G.

“Today I am outlining a clear path for the complete removal of high-risk providers from our 5G networks,” Dowden said in a statement Monday.

“This will be done through new and unprecedented powers to identify and ban telecommunications equipment that poses a threat to our national security.”

Huawei declined to comment when it was contacted by CNBC. The company has already warned of the economic damage the UK ban would cause, claiming it could delay the rollout of high-speed 5G internet in the country by a few years.

British lawmakers will discuss the new telecommunications security bill – which includes the new rules on Huawei – in a second reading in parliament on Monday.

Last week, it was announced that UK carriers would be fined up to 10% of their revenues or £ 100,000 ($ 133,000) per day if they did not comply with the rules.


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