UK ban on Huawei from its 5G network to take effect earlier

UK ban on Huawei from its 5G network to take effect earlier
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The UK government has announced that telecoms providers should stop installing Huawei equipment in the 5G mobile network starting September.

The announcement about the Huawei ban on the 5G network was released by the UK government after it unveiled a new proposed law that will impose hefty fines on telecoms that will fail to increase their security.

The new deadline to stop installing Huawei equipment has been moved earlier to September 2021. However, maintenance of existing Huawei equipment will still be permitted.

New Telecommunications Security Bill

While there have been numerous steps the UK government has taken to ban Huawei from the country’s 5G network, the proposed bill is the first attempt at including such ban in a legislation that provides details on how it will be enforced.

The proposed law, dubbed the Telecommunications Security Bill, threatens telecoms with fines to compel them to tighten their security as well as bans the involvement of Chinese firm Huawei in the 5G network.

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In July, the UK has decided to ban the Chinese tech giant from its 5G network, doing a turnabout on its January decision to grant it a limited role.

Digital and Culture Minister Oliver Dowden explained that the new US sanctions imposed on the company in May had “significantly changed” the landscape.

Dowden said: “Given the uncertainty this creates around Huawei’s supply chain, the UK can no longer be confident it will be able to guarantee the security of future Huawei 5G equipment.”

As a result, British telecommunications holding company BT Group decided to sign a deal with Ericsson for its 5G equipment, abandoning its former provider Huawei.

The 5G equipment deal with Ericsson is part of the move by BT to remove Huawei from its EE mobile network without becoming entirely dependent on its other radio access network (Ran) equipment provider, Nokia.

It is also in compliance with the UK government’s ban on the Chinese tech giant’s products from its 5G network.

The bill will grant the government national security powers that will enable it to order big telecoms firms such as BT on ways they should use “high risk” vendors including Huawei.

Companies that will not meet deadlines for higher security requirements will receive big fines that could reach up to 10% of turnover, or more than £100,000 a day.

However, the government stated that the £100,000 daily fine will only be imposed in he case of “continuing contravention”,

The bill gives the Office of Communications (Ofcom) the mandate to implement the rules as well as new powers that it may need to accomplish this job.

Other measures to ensure security

Dowden also said: “We are also publishing a new strategy to make sure we are never again dependent on a handful of telecoms vendors for the smooth and secure running of our networks.”

Along with the ban, the UK government will try to attract more suppliers to enter the market and replace Huawei, as well as promote the development of new technologies which may further open up the market.

The strategy will also involve investing an an initial £250 million to set up a National Telecoms Lab research facility as well as an open radio technology. Dowden claimed: “Our plans will spark a wave of innovation in the design of our future mobile networks.”

 

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