British telecommunications firms must not install new Huawei 5G kit after September 2021, the government said on Monday. The move is part of a plan to purge the Chinese firm’s equipment from high speed mobile networks.
The announcement comes ahead of a debate on new telecoms legislation in parliament.
“I am setting out a clear path for the complete removal of high-risk vendors from our 5G networks,” digital minister Oliver Dowden said in a statement, as quoted by Reuters. “This will be done through new and unprecedented powers to identify and ban telecoms equipment which poses a threat to our national security.”
London has also announced a new strategy to diversify the 5G supply chain, consisting of an initial £250 million ($333.5 million) investment, trials in collaboration with Japanese firm NEC, and the establishment of new research facilities.
The UK has already banned the purchase of new Huawei 5G kit after the end of the year. It initially allowed and then banned the use of equipment made by the Chinese tech giant in 5G mobile phone networks from the end of 2027, citing concerns that sanctions by the United States meant the Chinese company would not be a reliable supplier.
Beijing has criticized those decisions, while Huawei said last week that it was disappointed by the fact Britain was looking to exclude it from the 5G rollout after the publication of new laws that could see firms fined £100,000 ($133,140) if they break the ban.
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