UK bans use of Huawei 5G kits

The UK’s mobile providers are being banned from buying new Huawei 5G equipment after 31 December, and they must also remove all the Chinese firm’s 5G kit from their networks by 2027.

Digital Secretary of UK, Oliver Dowden told the House of Commons of the decision.

It follows sanctions imposed by Washington, which claims the firm poses a national security threat – something Huawei denies.

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”.

However, when swapping out the company’s masts, networks are likely to switch to a different vendor to provide the earlier-generation services.

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 .

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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 Sanctions On Huawei

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 sanctions led security officials to conclude they could no longer assure the security of its products if the company had to start sourcing chips from third-parties for use in its equipment.

The minister cited a review carried out by GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre as being the motivation for the changes .

NCSC has said Huawei products adapted to use third-party chips would be “likely to suffer more security and reliability problems”.

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