Why The UK Is Removing Huawei 5G Technology By 2027

The U.K. is banning China’s Huawei Technologies Co.'s 5G from next generation mobile networks by 2027 under a new plan to protect critical systems from security threats.

What Happened: The decision was announced Tuesday by the digital secretary Oliver Dowden in the House of Commons.

“It has not been an easy decision but it is the right one: for the U.K.’s telecoms networks, for our national security and our economy — both now and in the long term,” says Dowden.

Keeping the U.K. secure is the primary duty of a government to its people, Dowden says, adding that this consideration precedes all others.

“So, reflecting the advice of the National Cyber Security Centre, we will need to take a different approach to full fiber and older networks — one that recognizes that they are different to 5G in terms of their technology, their security, and the vendors supporting them,” Dowden says. 

The U.K's digital secretary says the government has been certain from the start that the Chinese-owned vendors Huawei and ZTE were deemed to be high-risk.

“We made clear that the National Cyber Security Centre would review and update its advice as necessary. Since January the situation has changed,” Dowden says. 

Why It's Important: In 2019, U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien warned the U.K. that allowing China’s Huawei into its 5G telecommunications networks would pose a risk to the U.K.'s secret intelligence services.

Huawei has always denied being controlled by the Chinese government, or that its work poses any risks of espionage and sabotage.

Back in May, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that new sanctions had been imposed against Huawei through changes to foreign direct product rules.

Previously the U.S. has urged members of the Five Eyes, which is an anglophone intelligence alliance comprised of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the U.K. and the U.S., to exclude Huawei from the construction of new telecommunications networks.

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