The UK government has in the steps of Washington, decided to ban local mobile network providers from buying or using new Huawei 5G equipment. According to the BBC, Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden this ban would delay the UK’s 5G rollout by a year.
Mr Dowden said the supply ban would delay the UK’s 5G rollout by a year.
The technology promises faster internet speeds and the capacity to support more wireless devices, which should be a boon to everything from mobile gaming to higher-quality video streams, and even in time driverless cars that talk to each other. 5G connections are already available in dozens of UK cities and towns, but coverage can be sparse.
Mr Dowden added that the cumulative cost of the moves when coupled with earlier restrictions announced against Huawei would be up to £2bn, and a total delay to 5G rollout of “two to three years”.
“This has not been an easy decision, but it is the right one for the UK telecoms networks, for our national security and our economy, both now and indeed in the long run,” he added.
This decision comes after the UK’s national intelligence agency (GCHQ) flagged new security fears over the Chinese technology company. A report from the GCHQ is said to rule that new US sanctions on Huawei have had a ‘serve’ impact and will force the company to use untrusted technology that could make the risk impossible to control.
UK to Phase Out 5G Technology from Huawei
Initial reports suggested that British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson was planning to phase out the use of 5G network technology supplied by Huawei in as little as six months – however, it has now been confirmed that this process only needs to be completed by 2027.
Huawei said the move was “bad news for anyone in the UK with a mobile phone” and threatened to “move Britain into the digital slow lane, push up bills and deepen the digital divide.”
The action, however, does not affect Huawei’s ability to sell its smartphones to consumers or how they will run.
China’s ambassador to the UK said the decision was “disappointing and wrong”.
“It has become questionable whether the UK can provide an open, fair and non-discriminatory business environment for companies from other countries,” tweeted Liu Xiaoming.
But US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo welcomed the news, saying: “The UK joins a growing list of countries from around the world that are standing up for their national security by prohibiting the use of untrusted, high-risk vendors.”
New restrictions will also apply to use of the company’s broadband kit.
5G technology promises faster internet speeds and the capacity to support more wireless devices, which should be a boon to everything from mobile gaming to higher-quality video streams. 5G connections are already available in dozens of UK cities and towns, but coverage can be sparse.
The UK last reviewed Huawei’s role in its telecoms infrastructure in January, when it was decided to let the company remain a supplier but introduced a cap on its market share.
But in May the US introduced new sanctions designed to disrupt Huawei’s ability to get its own chips manufactured.
The Trump administration claims that Huawei provides a gateway for China to spy on and potentially attack countries that use its equipment, suggestions the company strongly rejects.
The US has called for members of the Five Eyes alliance – which also includes the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – to avoid Huawei kit.