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UK banning China’s Huawei from 5G networks

A Huawei location in Santa Clara, Calif., on April 19, 2018. (Yichuan Cao/Sipa USA/TNS)
July 14, 2020

The United Kingdom announced on Tuesday that it would be barring Chinese telecom company Huawei from its 5G networks.

The announcement came from Britan’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary, Oliver Dowden, who told the House of Commons that purchases of Huawei’s 5G equipment will be banned beginning at the end of this year, and all Huawei equipment will be removed from the country’s networks by 2027.

Dowden said that Britain’s National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) came to the decision to eliminate Huawei’s presence from the UK’s network following a security review, which also considered the U.S.’s previous action to limit Huawei’s products.

“The NCSC has now reported to ministers that they have significantly changed their security assessment of Huawei’s presence in the UK 5G network,” Dowden said.

“The government agrees with the National Cyber Security Centre’s advice: the best way to secure our networks is for operators to stop using new affected Huawei equipment to build the UK’s future 5G networks,” he added.

In addition to banning the purchase of Huawei’s 5G equipment and banning Huawei’s equipment from 5G networks, the U.K. is also recommending fiber networks to eliminate Huawei equipment.

The U.K. government will conduct a review to determine if a ban on Huawei equipment from fiber networks is also necessary.

“The UK can no longer be confident it will be able to guarantee the security of future Huawei 5G equipment affected by the change in the US foreign direct product rules,” Dowden said.

Huawei is highly regarded in China. It is the second leading smartphone company in the world, and is the largest producer of cellular and internet networking equipment.

The U.S. previously banned Huawei from participating in the development of 5G networks in the U.S.

The U.S. has criticized Huawei’s activities and accused it of being used as a tool of the Chinese government due to numerous incidents involving espionage with Chinese government agents over the years, instances which Huawei denies.

The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reportedly showed evidence to British officials that Huawei received funds from China’s People’s Liberation Army, China’s National Security Commission and a Chinese intelligence agency, according to a report by The Times in April.

President Trump also banned Huawei from doing business in the U.S., a move made via executive order in May 2019.