Earlier this month, it was announced by the UK government all Huawei products would be completely remove from the UK 5G network infrastructure by the end of 2027. The announcement came after the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) produced new advice regarding the impact of sanctions placed against the telecommunications giant by the US.
US sanctions were first levied against Huawei back in May 2019, but one year later in May of this year, further restrictions were added. The US secretary of state said that “Telecommunications companies around the world should consider themselves on notice: if they are doing business with Huawei, they are doing business with human rights abusers,”. Washington has also accused Huawei of working under the command of Beijing, adding that global security and personal data would be at risk if the telecoms company dominated the development of 5G across the world.
The decision to remove all Huawei equipment from UK 5G infrastructure over the course of the next 7 years was made in a meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) chaired by the Prime Minister. In the meantime, there was also a total ban placed on the purchase of any new 5G equipment after the end of this year, 31st December 2020.
The NCSC’s technical experts concluded that it was impossible to maintain the guarantee of the security of Huawei equipment in the future due to the new restrictions. They say that a major reconfiguration of Huawei’s supply chain will be needed thanks to no longer being able to access technology that they currently rely on, with no alternatives that the NCSC are sufficiently confident with.
The Digital Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said:
“5G will be transformative for our country, but only if we have confidence in the security and resilience of the infrastructure it is built upon. By the time of the next election we will have implemented in law an irreversible path for the complete removal of Huawei equipment from our 5G networks.”
The UK government have said that “The decision takes into account our specific national circumstances and how the risks from these sanctions are manifested in the UK”. They go on to add that all existing restrictions in place against Huawei surrounding ‘sensitive and critical’ parts of the network will continue to remain in place.