US President Donald Trump wrote that he is responsible for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to eliminate Huawei from the British 5G network from the end of 2027.
Boris Johnson (on his behalf, British Secretary of State (Minister) for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden) has ordered the complete removal of Huawei devices from the UK’s 5G network by the end of 2027, risking China’s ire but clearly signaling that the biggest in the world, a manufacturer of telecommunications equipment is not welcome in the West.
“We have convinced many countries, many countries, most of them on my own, not to use Huawei because we think it’s dangerous, it’s a security risk, it’s a big security risk,” Trump said.
As a reminder, British mobile providers are banned from purchasing new Huawei 5G equipment after December 31, 2020. They must also remove all of the Chinese company’s 5G equipment from their networks by 2027.
British Secretary of State (Minister) for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden told the House of Commons about the government’s decision. It means that the British government is complying with sanctions imposed by Washington, which claims that the Chinese company poses a threat to US national security. Huawei, of course, denies this.
Dowden also said that the supply ban would delay the rollout of the UK’s 5G network by a year. He added that the total cost of the decision, combined with previous restrictions announced against Huawei, would be up to £2 billion and the total delay to the 5G rollout would be “two to three years”.
“This was not an easy decision, but it is the right one for Britain’s telecommunications networks, for our national security and for our economy, both now and in the long term,” the Secretary of State said.
As US sanctions only cover future 5G equipment, the UK government has been advised not to remove 2G, 3G and 4G equipment provided by Huawei. However, when replacing masts, network companies will likely switch to another supplier to provide earlier generation services.
Huawei said the government’s move was “bad news for everyone in the UK with a mobile phone” and threatened it would “shift the UK to free digital traffic, drive up bills and widen the digital divide.”
The government’s decision does not affect Huawei’s ability to sell smartphones to consumers.
China’s ambassador to the UK said the decision was “disappointing and wrong”. “It is questionable whether the UK can provide an open, fair and non-discriminatory business environment for companies from other countries,” Liu Xiaoming wrote on Twitter.