The United Kingdom on Tuesday decided to exclude all 5G equipment of Huawei from the country by 2027 over security concerns.
Besides, British telecom operators have been directed to stop buying 5G equipment from Huawei by the end of this year.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden revealed the decision and said “this has not been an easy decision, but it is the right one,″ reports AP.
The decision would delay the 5G rollout, and cost millions of pounds, but that it had to be done, the secretary added.
The British government backtracked on plans to give Huawei a limited role in the UK’s new high-speed mobile phone network in a decision with broad implications for relations between London and Beijing. Britain said it imposed the ban after US sanctions made it impossible to ensure the security of Huawei equipment, forcing it to start turning to other suppliers for components.
Earlier, the US threatened to sever an intelligence-sharing arrangement with the UK because of concerns Huawei equipment could allow the Chinese government to infiltrate UK networks. The decision gives British telecoms operators until 2027 to remove Huawei equipment already in Britain's 5G network. The operators must stop buying 5G equipment from Huawei by the end of the year.
Critically for telecoms operators, the government opted not to order firms to rip out legacy equipment manufactured by Huawei in earlier systems, like 4G. Such a decision might have caused havoc in UK telecoms systems.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson was under pressure from within his own Conservative Party who criticised China’s new Hong Kong security law and its treatment of ethnic Uighurs, as well as Huawei’s links to the Chinese government.
Ten Conservative lawmakers sent a letter to Johnson demanding that he remove Huawei from “the UK’s critical national infrastructure.”
Johnson in January sought to balance economic and security pressures by agreeing to give Huawei a limited role in Britain’s so-called 5G network, excluding the company from core components of the system and restricting its involvement to 35 percent of the overall project.
But the move set up a diplomatic clash with the Americans, who threatened to cut off security cooperation unless Britain dumped Huawei. Amid continued pressure to remove Huawei from communication networks entirely, the US in May imposed new sanctions that will bar companies around the world from using American-made machinery or software to produce chips for the Chinese company.
The Labour Party's spokeswoman on communications issues, Chi Omwurah, decried the government's flip-flop approach and said it would have a dire impact on the future. “This is a car crash for our digital economy, but one that could have been visible from space," she said.
Meanwhile, Huawei expressed disappointment and said the decision threatens to move “Britain into the digital slow lane, push up bills and deepen the digital divide.''
"Regrettably our future in the UK has become politicized, this is about US trade policy and not security,'' said Ed Brewster, a spokesman for Huawei UK.
Over the past 20 years, Huawei has focused on building a better connected UK. “As a responsible business, we will continue to support our customers as we have always done,” he added.