Huawei’s Ban From the United Kingdom
In the midst of the ongoing construction of 5G capable connectivity across the United Kingdom, the UK government announced that their initial statement banning mobile networks from purchasing and using Huawei 5G equipment now has detailed plans to phase out the Chinese tech company from the nation over the next year. The initial decision was made back in July of 2020; however, the government has now released a far more concrete plan to accomplish this feat while still continuing to chart a course that will provide 5G to United Kingdom citizens in the near future.
The end goal laid out by the government will have mobile coverage carriers have all Huawei 5G equipment stripped from these companies’ infrastructures by 2027. The most substantial step the United Kingdom has taken to ensure this, along with the hard stop in 2027, is the new September 2021 deadline for all carriers to stop installing Huawei equipment. Companies that fail to comply with the new deadlines will be fined 10% of their revenues or 100,000 pounds every day they are not in compliance.
The decision back in July and subsequent actions taken by the United Kingdom since then have come as no surprise to many considering the significant pressure put on the nation to do so coming from the United States. The United States has already imposed serious sanctions on the company based on security concerns involving the Chinese government being allowed to surveil and listen to sensitive communications through Huawei. As a result of these new bans and restrictions, the United Kingdom will have to drastically rescale their 5G efforts by finding new outlets for 5G equipment quickly, and that in itself is by no means a small task.
The United Kingdom’s New Path to 5G Capabilities
Without the considerable help and infrastructure that Huawei would have previously provided for the United Kingdom, there is a new vacuum in equipment that must be filled by a variety of different companies previously not being used. To help ease this transition, the United Kingdom has decided to invest £250 million ($333 million) in an effort to drastically diversify the supply chain of 5G capable equipment. This effort will include a £3 million ($3.9 million) investment into the launch of a National Telecoms Lab, which will serve as a testing facility for 5G and satellite communications. This equipment is expected to be rolled out to businesses across the UK. While the National Telecoms Lab will be partnering with Japanese tech company NEC, there are still serious doubts about how quickly the United Kingdom will be able to roll out a successful 5G capable network across the nation. In fact, this move to help secure national information and communications may set back the 5G rollout by as much as three years and cost as much as £2 billion ($2.67 billion).
The United Kingdom’s decision and subsequent detailed plans to remove Huawei 5G equipment may end up being an excellent decision in the context of national security, but will almost certainly end up costing the nation significant money and time lost. However, given the concerns raised by the United States and affirmed by the United Kingdom, there is little doubt that the decision makes sound sense under at least one context.
About the Author
Tom Price is a writer focusing on Entertainment and Sports Features. He has a degree from NYU in English with a minor in Creative Writing. He has been previously published for Washington Square News, Dignitas, CBR, and Numbers on the Boards.