Culture Minister OIiver Dowden told the House of Commons tonight that telecommunications firms were barred from buying any more of the company's 5G equipment from the end of the year.
Further, Dowden said a consultation would begin to decide when to ban Huawei equipment from British fibre optic networks.
The seven-year period is in keeping with the opinion of BT chief executive Philip Jansen who told BBC Radio 4's Today program this week that it would be impossible to remove Huawei equipment in a shorter time frame.
*stares at his Huawei 5G router* https://t.co/EmvqH5a669— Kevin Beaumont (@GossiTheDog) July 14, 2020
Based on this decision, which was leaked last May well before it was officially announced, Vodafone, O2, EE (a BT unit) and Three all rolled out 5G networks, and used Huawei gear in non-core parts of the network. Spanish group Telefonica owns O2 and it has used Huawei’s infrastructure in some of its other networks. O2 has no wide use of Huawei in the UK, but has a network-sharing agreement with Vodafone.
Dowden said: "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.
"No new kit is to be added from January 2021, and UK 5G networks will be Huawei free by the end of 2027. This decisive move provides the industry with the clarity and certainty it needs to get on with delivering 5G across the UK.
This is a *very* big deal. It is perhaps too early to declare total victory, but, at least as it relates to Huawei, we have landed on the beaches of Normandy and rolling towards ultimate triumph https://t.co/wTWhZgsjCn— Dmitri Alperovitch (@DAlperovitch) July 14, 2020
"By the time of the next election we will have implemented in law an irreversible path for the complete removal of Huawei equipment from our 5G networks."
Following US pressure, applied on Prime Minister Boris Johnson when Washington was approached about a trade deal, Britain agreed to review its earlier stance. New American strictures imposed on Huawei in May have been taken to mean that any risk mitigation which was possible earlier would not be possible now.
Among the Five Eyes countries, only Canada and New Zealand are yet to make a formal announcement about using Huawei gear. New Zealand has stayed mum, even though the a proposal for use of Huawei equipment by its main telco Spark was turned down by the country's spy agency, the Government Communications Security Bureau.
Disappointing and wrong decision by the UK on #Huawei. It has become questionable whether the UK can provide an open, fair and non-discriminatory business environment for companies from other countries. https://t.co/fp1D9Yn2vt— Liu Xiaoming (@AmbLiuXiaoMing) July 14, 2020
The UK decision came after technical experts at the NCSC reviewed the consequences of the new US sanctions and concluded Huawei would need to do a major reconfiguration of its supply chain as it would no longer have access to the technology on which it currently relies and there were no alternatives in which the UK had sufficient confidence.
The experts were said to have found that the new restrictions made it impossible to continue to guarantee the security of Huawei equipment in the future.
As a result, ministers agreed that UK operators should stop the purchase of Huawei equipment affected by the sanctions.
We’re not even out of the EU and Trump/America are already influencing decisions made by this shit show of a government.— Soopagaz #BuckForis (@soopagaz) July 14, 2020
Trump says jump and Boris says Huawei
Two big Canadian telecommunications companies — Bell Canada and Telus Corporation — recently said they had chosen Swedish firm Ericsson and Finland's Nokia to provide then with 5G equipment.
Bell, which is Canada's biggest mobile provider, said it would use equipment from Ericsson for the core of its 5G network, with Nokia to supply gear for other parts of the rollout.
Telus also picked the two firms, the only two in the world that can supply gear for an end-to-end 5G network apart from global leader Huawei and its Chinese competitor, ZTE Corporation.
Huawei ban "a hammer blow" to UK's global 5G leader ambition, says industry expert pic.twitter.com/iBv8VszQFk— China Facts (@China_Fact) July 15, 2020
Canada's other big telco, Rogers Communications, has already said it would be using equipment from Ericsson.
The US has been on a crusade for the last few years, asking countries not to use the company's gear, claiming that it is a security risk, but providing no proof to substantiate these claims.
Huawei, a privately-owned firm, has constantly denied these allegations to no avail.
Step 1: Break trading ties with a huge trading block, the EU.— El Christo (@ElRaynerista) July 14, 2020
Step 2: Start a trade war with the World's strongest economy.
Step 3: Learn to like eating chlorinated chicken.#Huawei #BrexitReality pic.twitter.com/9W6F4OoQA2
Both Ericsson and Nokia make most of their gear in China, in partnership with state-owned companies.
Ericsson Panda — a joint venture between the Swedish firm and China's Panda Electronics — has as one shareholder the state-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Committee, while Nokia Shanghai Bell is a joint venture with state-owned China Huaxin Post & Telecommunication.
But the use of Ericsson gear has come under a cloud recently after the Pentagon released a list which claimed that Ericsson's partner, Panda Electronics, was either owned or controlled by the People's Liberation Army.
Under questioning from an Australian Parliamentary panel, Ericsson on 19 February, admitted that equipment from its joint-venture with Panda Electronics was being supplied to Australian customers, including the country's biggest telco Telstra.