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UK bans Huawei from 5G network, citing security risks triggered by US sanctions

Huawei will be stripped from Britain's network by 2027

Britain has announced it’s banning Huawei from the country’s 5G network, mere months after agreeing to keep the firm as a supplier.

Telecom company will have to strip all Huawei gear from their networks by 2027, and will be barred from buying any more of its 5G tech from the start of next year.

Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said the move would cost up to $2.5bn and delay the UK‘s 5G rollout by two-to-three years.

“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,” he said. “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.”

[Read: US bans companies from selling chips to Huawei]

The decision follows months of pressure from the Trump administration. The White House claims Huawei could use the 5G network to help the Chinese government conduct cyber espionage, and has imposed a series of restrictions on the Shenzen-based firm. Huawei has consistently denied allegations of ties to the Chinese state, arguing that the dispute is about trade rather than security.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had previously sought to placate both superpowers while preserving the UK‘s 5G infrastructure. In January, he agreed to keep Huawei in the system, but barred it from the sensitive “core” of the networks. Tuesday’s U-turn comes after the National Cyber Security Centre said it can no longer guarantee the security of Huawei gear, due to the US banning the firm from using American microchips.

“Following US sanctions against Huawei and updated technical advice from our cyber experts, the government has decided it necessary to ban Huawei from our 5G networks,” said Dowden.

The move will certainly please the White House, but it will also raise the ire of the Chinese government.

Published July 14, 2020 — 15:40 UTC