The Chinese computing company Huawei will see all its products completely removed from the UK’s 5G networks by the end of 2027, the government has announced, following new advice produced by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) on the impact of US sanctions against the telecommunications vendor.
Ahead of this there will be a total ban on the purchase of any new 5G kit after 31 December 2020.
The decision was taken in a meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) chaired by the Prime Minister, in response to new US sanctions. These were imposed on Huawei in May, after the UK’s initial decision on high risk vendors, and are the first of their kind removing the firm’s access to products which have been built based on US semiconductor technology.
Technical experts at the NCSC reviewed the consequences of the sanctions and concluded the company will need to do a major reconfiguration of its supply chain as it will no longer have access to the technology on which it currently relies and there are no alternatives in which it has sufficient confidence. They found the new restrictions make it impossible to continue to guarantee the security of Huawei equipment in the future.
The existing restrictions on Huawei in sensitive and critical parts of the network remain in place.
The US action also affects Huawei products used in the UK’s full fibre broadband networks. Following security advice from experts, the government is advising full fibre operators to transition away from purchasing new Huawei equipment. A technical consultation will determine the transition timetable, but we expect this period to last no longer than two years.
Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “5G will be transformative for our country, but only if we have confidence in the security and resilience of the infrastructure it is built upon.
“Following US sanctions against Huawei and updated technical advice from our cyber experts, the government has decided it is necessary to ban Huawei from our 5G networks.”