The British government made a decision as expected on Tuesday afternoon regarding the future presence of Huawei Technologies on UK 5G networks. According to a recently announced decision by the Johnson Cabinet, from 31 December, no British telecoms operator will be able to buy mobile network equipment from the Chinese manufacturer, be it radio access or core network equipment, and by 2027 Huawei’s devices will have to disappear completely from the country’s 5G networks.
THE SITUATION CHANGED
The British position, according to the official explanation, changed after the United States imposed new sanctions on the Huawei brand in May, this time not only cutting ties between U.S. suppliers and China's multi-partner. Thus, America essentially forbade Chinese partners to produce components that used American technology in their manufacture. With this, Huawei has lost its key semiconductor manufacturing partner, TSMC in Taiwan, among others.
At the same time, local newspapers point out that the turnaround may be due to the extremely strong domestic and foreign policy pressures on the Johnson Cabinet over the past few months, and the Prime Minister's ability to maintain good relations between London and Washington.
The Information Security Secret Service, a subdivision of the Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ), the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC), approached local operators working with Huawei as early as June to recommend certain network components. to buy larger quantities than usual or required, as it is highly questionable how long Huawei will be able to deliver them. The organization also pointed out that in the future, the Chinese manufacturer may not be able to provide some critical upgrades to the infrastructure due to sanctions.
In connection with today's decision by the British government, Huawei and several local mobile operators, as well as the telecommunications multi concerned, also made a preliminary statement. Victor Zhang, the first man of the Chinese manufacturer's British subsidiary, warned the British government last week about making such a far-reaching decision for the future. BT, the owner of EE, was the first to speak out. According to the company, sweeping Huawei out of 5G networks in the current state could be a lengthy process, requiring 5-7 years, and if the government waits for faster action, it could even lead to the periodic collapse of UK mobile networks. Although Conservative MPs wanted the switch to take place by the next election, the Cabinet ultimately opted for a more favorable scenario for service providers, with longer lead times. mobile carrier currently uses it in its commercial 5G network, true only in the radio access layer. Replacing existing assets may require different amounts of investment depending on the operator, mainly depending on the size of the existing network. The situation of operators is not facilitated by the fact that, for compatibility reasons, elements of the currently prevalent non-standalone 5G radio access network typically have to be purchased from the same supplier from which the 4G devices were purchased by the service provider, given that in this topology the 5G s and 4G network elements work together.
The Chinese manufacturer's most reliant local service provider for mobile network devices is Vodafone's British subsidiary, which uses Huawei network equipment in its 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G networks.
Gellert is Technology Editor at Counting News Media and contributor at other major tech publications. Her interests includes testing new gadgets and reading.