The British government has finally agreed to ban Chinese tech company Huawei from its burgeoning 5G network even after allowing it to participate in the January rollout.
“From the end of this year, telecoms providers must not buy any 5G equipment from Huawei,” announced British Digital Minister Oliver Dowden, adding that all existing Huawei equipment be phased out by 2027. The decision does not apply to older 2G, 3G, and 4G networks.
Britain’s decision is linked to factors including:
- In February, US officials presented evidence regarding Huawei’s ability to access mobile phone networks through ‘back doors’ designed for use by law enforcement.
- In May, the Trump Administration enacted new sanctions restricting Huawei’s access to the chips and semi-conductors used in America’s 5G network.
- China’s ongoing persecution of ethnic Uighurs.
- China’s imposition of a new security law in Hong Kong.
Critics worry about British mobile providers’ ability to find alternatives to the cheap Chinese tech on which they have relied for years. Officials say the ban on Huawei will add $2.5 billion and 2-3 years to the UK’s 5G rollout (a small price to pay to prevent Chinese spying).
As expected, Huawei was quick to blame the UK’s decision on the US-China trade war: “Regrettably, our future in the UK has become politicized; this is about US trade policy and not security,” said a Huawei spokesperson. “This disappointing decision is bad news for anyone in the UK with a mobile phone.”
Moving forward, British officials are discussing when to ban the purchase of Huawei equipment for the country’s fiber-optic network and are seeking to create a ‘5G group of nations’ that can share resources and search for a reliable and cost-effective alternatives to Huawei.
British officials will meet with representatives from the US, Italy, Germany, and France to discuss Huawei later this week.
Author’s Note: This is a major victory for President Trump and for personal privacy. If Huawei is allowed to get its claws into the global 5G network, we can expect increased spying and theft and potentially a Chinese takeover of key systems during times of conflict.
Editor’s Note: Trump has managed to convince the world that the Chinese Communist Party has evil intent and that Huawei is perfectly willing to configure its equipment to spy and to put that capability in the hands of the Chinese government.