Parliament Admits Ouster of Huawei Will Slow 5G By Three Years


Reversing its earlier, more lenient stance, the U.K. government voted to distance itself from Chinese telecom giant Huawei, reports The latest decision will forbid U.K. users from purchasing components from Huawei after 2020. Additionally, Huawei equipment in current use must be replaced by 2027. 

“To go further and faster beyond the 2027 target would add significant and unnecessary costs and delays,” said U.K. Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden, House of Commons. Snowden explained the decision was not made lightly. Addressing this security issue “this will delay our rollout of 5G,” Dowden acknowledged. 

The decision to move forward without the involvement of Huawei could cost as much as £2 billion (US$2.5B), as well as add up to three years to 5G build-out plans. Vodafone and BT cautioned the removal of all untrusted components could take five to seven years. The prolonged scope of the removal also takes into account the extra planning needed to ensure there’s no service interruption.

Stepping up to the plate, Arun Bansal, president of Ericsson’s Europe and Latin America division, said his company was ready to help the U.K. meet its goals. Ericsson “has the technology, experience and supply chain capacity” to help create a “world-leading 5G network for the people, businesses and economy of the U.K.,” he said. 

Huawei was disappointed with the U.K.’s decision to sever business ties, stating, “It threatens to move Britain into the digital slow lane, push up bills and deepen the digital divide. Instead of levelling up, the government is levelling down and we urge them to reconsider. We remain confident that the new U.S. restrictions would not have affected the resilience or security of the products we supply to the U.K.” 

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