UK sends legal documents mandating Huawei kit removal

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The UK Government has sent legal documents to operators mandating the removal of Huawei equipment from national telecoms networks.

In 2020, the UK Government announced that Huawei’s kit must be removed from the country’s 5G networks by 2027. Operators were banned from purchasing Huawei’s equipment from 31 December 2020.

“This has not been an easy decision, but it is the right one for the UK telecoms networks, for our national security and our economy, both now and indeed in the long run,” said then-Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden at the time.

Documents have been sent to 35 UK telecoms operators that puts a legal requirement on them to:

  • Remove Huawei equipment from sites significant to national security by 28 January 2023
  • Limit Huawei to 35 percent of the full fibre access network by 31 October 2023
  • Remove Huawei equipment from the network core by 31 December 2023
  • Remove Huawei equipment from 5G networks by the end of 2027
  • Not install any Huawei equipment that has been affected by US sanctions in full fibre networks

“We must have confidence in the security of our phone and internet networks which underpin so much about our economy and everyday lives,” said UK Digital Secretary Michelle Donelan.

“Thanks to this government’s tough new laws we can drive up the security of telecoms infrastructure and control the use of high-risk equipment. Today, I’m using these powers and making it a legal requirement for Huawei to be removed from 5G networks by 2027.”

While criticised by many operators as slowing down the 5G rollout, and making it more costly, the ban has been widely welcomed by Western cybersecurity experts.

“Society increasingly relies on telecoms and the NCSC, government and industry partners work closely to help ensure that these networks are secure and resilient in the long term,” commented NCSC Technical Director Dr Ian Levy.

“The Telecoms Security Act ensures we can be confident in the resilience of the everyday services on which we rely, and the legal requirements in this Designated Vendor Direction are a key part of the security journey.”

(Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash)

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