UK bans Huawei from its 5G network

The United Kingdom has announced that it would ban equipment from the Chinese technology giant Huawei from the country’s high-speed wireless network. This is a U-turn from the government which earlier allowed Huawei to participate.

It comes amid rising tension with Beijing and pressure from the United States government. This could also add pressure on other European countries to review their approach to the Chinese telecoms giant.

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Earlier, Huawei was allowed up to 35 percent share in the non-sensitive parts of Britain’s 5G networks. With banning Huawei, PM Boris Johnson has ignored threats from Chinese officials that there will be “consequences” if the UK treats China as a “hostile partner”.

The British phone companies will now not be able to buy new Huawei components for their 5G networks after the end of this year. Also, all the existing equipment made by the Chinese giant must be removed from the 5G infrastructure by 2027.

Commenting on the development, Edward Brewster, Spokesperson of Huawei UK, said: “This disappointing decision is bad news for anyone in the UK with a mobile phone. It threatens to move Britain into the digital slow lane, push up bills and deepen the digital divide. Instead of ‘levelling up’ the government is levelling down and we urge them to reconsider. We remain confident that the new US restrictions would not have affected the resilience or security of the products we supply to the UK.”

The United States has already blocked the company from using American technology, which has prompted UK’s National Cyber Security Centre to conclude that Huawei would have to use potentially insecure technology and thus the security risks would be impossible to control.

The announcement is a major blow to Huawei, which has been operating in Britain for 20 years. Europe is also one of the key markets for Huawei, accounting for 24 percent of the company’s sales last year.

Huawei, the leading telecom equipment maker, has now been banned from participating in the United States and United Kingdom. Given the anti-China sentiments in the Indian market as well, it won’t be surprising if the Indian government also bans Huawei from participating in India’s 5G trials.