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19 Oct 2022

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The UK Sends Legal Documents Ordering Huawei to Remove Its Kit

The United Kingdom government has escalated its fight with Chinese telecoms firm Huawei, sending legal documents to telecommunications companies telling them they must remove any components supplied by the vendor and cease using existing equipment in the UK.

In 2020, the United Kingdom's government said Huawei's network devices needed to be removed from the country by 2027, and operators needed to stop buying Huawei equipment by the close of 2020.

"This has not been an easy decision, but it is the right one for the UK telecoms networks, for our national security and our economy, both now and in the long run," said Oliver Dowden, the Culture Secretary.

The UK government has sent documents to 35 telecoms operators requiring them to:

  • By January 28, 2023, Huawei equipment must be removed from all government sites significant to national security.
  • Temporarily restrict Huawei to just 35 percent of the total fiber access network by October 31, 2023.
  • Remove Huawei equipment from the network core by December 31, 2023
  • Pull Huawei equipment out of 5G networks by the end of 2027.
  • Installing any Huawei equipment is prohibited by the US sanctions in fully-wired networks.

"We must have confidence in the security of our phone and internet networks which underpin so much about our economy and everyday lives," Michelle Donelan, UK Digital Secretary added...

"Thanks to this government's tough new laws, we can drive up the security of telecoms infrastructure and control the use of high-risk equipment. So today, I'm using these powers and making it a legal requirement for Huawei to be removed from 5G networks by 2027."

Western cybersecurity experts have embraced the ban despite the criticism from many operators that the ban will slow down 5G development.

"Society increasingly relies on telecoms, and the NCSC, government, and industry partners work closely to help ensure that these networks are secure and resilient in the long term," Dr. Ian Levy, NCSC Technical Director, commented.

"The Telecoms Security Act ensures we can be confident in the resilience of the everyday services on which we rely, and the legal requirements in this Designated Vendor Direction are a key part of the security journey."

This is a major blow to Huawei, and will surely affect its bottom line. The UK is the first country to mandate the complete removal of all Huawei equipment from critical areas. This is an alarming trend, as it could mean that other countries may follow suit in light of the US-China trade war.

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