Huawei will have no place in the installation of Britain’s 5G phone networks by 2027.
The UK will be banned from purchasing any of the Chinese telecoms company’s 5G equipment as of 31st December this year under a new Telecom Security Bill and all Huawei equipment will be uninstalled by 2027.
The announcement came just six months after PM Boris Johnson granted the company a limited role in Britain, which allowed Huawei to supply 35% of the country’s 5G equipment, and just a few minutes after it was announced that former BP boss Lord Browne would be stepping down from his position of Chairman as of September.
The news also followed a “game-changing” May announcement that the US would be imposing further sanctions on Huawei, which prevented them from using microchips from US suppliers.
Because of this, any new chips used by Huawei in future UK infrastructure would no longer be deemed a manageable risk. This led to the approval of the decision by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) approving the decision on Tuesday.
UK culture secretary, Oliver Dowden claimed this would prevent the 5G installation plans for the UK by two to three years. This move will “cost hundreds of millions of pounds,” he told MPs, much of which might be billed to consumers.
However, UK telecoms firms have been allowed two years to stockpile on Huawei technology for full-fibre broadband, as a delay will be necessary with Nokia being the country’s only other infrastructure provider.
Although the sanctions only affect future equipment (so 2G, 3G and 4G are here to stay), Huawei threatened to put Britain in the “digital slow lane, push up bills and deepen the digital divide” reports BBC.
The sanctions are expected to have an impact on new products, too. The NCSC warned that new Huawei phones “won’t be able to use Google applications or services; for example: the Play Store, Maps, YouTube or Google Assistant.”
According to The Guardian, Huawei denies there have been any requests by the Chinese state to engage in spying, while Beijing said the decision will be an “acid test of the Sino-British relationship that had developed under David Cameron.”