Ministers braced for responses from Beijing when they confirm today that Huawei has been banned from participating in the UK 5G network
- Telecom companies are prohibited from installing new equipment supplied by Huawei
- Huawei executives held talks with officials hoping to tone down the plans
- BT boss says it could take ten years to remove Huawei equipment from UK networks
Ministers brace for Beijing’s response today when they confirm a ban on Huawei’s involvement in the 5G network.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden will announce that telecom companies may no longer install new equipment supplied by the Chinese giant by Christmas.
He will also order companies to remove all existing Huawei kits by the middle of this decade.
Huawei executives held the latest talks yesterday with officials from the Department of Digital Affairs, Culture, Media and Sports and the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) hoping to tone down the plans.
The Huawei ban follows Donald Trump’s intense pressure to deny China a foothold in the critical infrastructure of the West. Strict US sanctions prevented the company from using any US patented technology in its microchips
But a Whitehall source said the ban would go ahead, adding, “It’s fair to say Huawei won’t be very happy with the result.”
The turnaround could jeopardize Boris Johnson’s goal to roll out fiber broadband by 2025.
BT director Philip Jansen said yesterday that it could take ten years to remove Huawei equipment from UK networks.
He also warned of “outages” and potential security risks if the industry was told to limit all matters with the Chinese technology company during the 5G network upgrade.
Ministers are also looking forward to a response from Beijing, which has warned that the UK will face consequences if it sides with the US to ban one of the jewels in China’s industrial crown.
Industry sources said yesterday that the decision not to ban Huawei until Christmas broke the odds that US policy could change if President Trump fails November reelection
Former MI6 chief Sir Richard Dearlove warned last weekend that Beijing could even order retaliatory attacks on the UK, adding, “It is a threat and I think we know quite a lot that the Chinese have developed and are willing to use it. ”
The Huawei ban follows Donald Trump’s intense pressure to deny China a foothold in the critical infrastructure of the West.
Strict US sanctions have prevented the company from using any US-patented technology in its microchips.
Johnson’s National Security Council will consider a report from the NCSC on the impact of U.S. sanctions on Huawei’s ability to provide the 5G network.
A Whitehall source said the sanctions have had a “serious” effect on the company, adding, “There is no way we can say their equipment is safe.”
Industry sources said yesterday that the decision not to ban Huawei until Christmas opened up the possibility that U.S. policy could change if President Trump fails November reelection.
But with a powerful group of Tory MPs also pushing for Huawei’s expulsion, few in Whitehall believe the company has any prospect of long-term involvement in 5G even if Mr. Trump loses.
Huawei executives held the latest talks yesterday with officials from the Department of Digital Affairs, Culture, Media and Sports and the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) hoping to tone down the plans. One of the company’s offices is shown above in Reading
Bob Seely, a Tory MP who is coordinator of the Huawei Interest Group, who urged ministers to ban, yesterday welcomed signals that the government has changed its mind.
He said it is critical that Huawei be allowed to install a new kit by the end of this year.
Huawei has always denied that its equipment poses a security risk. The company maintains that it is not controlled by the Chinese state.
But critics claim that Huawei is being used by Beijing as a Trojan horse to undermine the critical infrastructure of the West.
In January, ministers ruled that companies were allowed to install the Huawei kit to a maximum of 35 percent, despite the fact that the company was designated a “ high-risk supplier ” due to its ties to the Chinese state.