The UK government is banning the installation of new Huawei 5G equipment from September 2021 as part of its plans to phase out the Chinese firm’s technology by 2027, The Financial Times reports. The decision follows the government’s announcement in July that firms would be barred from buying new equipment from January 2021 over national security concerns.
The announcement means that any telecoms companies who have stockpiled Huawei equipment ahead of the January cutoff will now not be able to use this for long-term 5G rollouts. The Financial Times reports that some companies have been stockpiling this equipment since summer. Firms will still be allowed to maintain old equipment after September, according to BBC News.
New legislation set to be debated in Parliament this week will start the process of enshrining the ban in law and set out how it will be enforced. Under the Telecommunications Security Bill, telecoms companies could be fined up to 10 percent of turnover or £100,000 per day if they don’t comply with the new security standards.
While competitors Ericsson and Nokia have so far picked up several of the contracts to replace Huawei’s equipment, the government is promising to invest £250 million to encourage the growth of smaller players in the industry. This initiative will try to reduce the impact of removing Huawei’s equipment from 5G networks, and will include creating a new National Telecoms Lab as well as investing in new open radio technology.
Huawei declined to comment to the BBC on the announcement, and did not immediately respond to The PoliticSay’s request for comment. In the past, the firm has consistently denied posing a national security risk. The company’s vice-president Victor Zhang has said the UK’s decision to ban its equipment from the country’s networks is “politically motivated and not based on a fair evaluation of the risks”.