UK Bans Huawei Equipment from Telecom Networks

On Tuesday, the United Kingdom announced that they would restrict Chinese tech giant Huawei from broadband networks. This marks a 180 turn on Huawei policy by the UK, as previously Huawei was allowed in 30% of mobile wireless networks. See the background here.

In practical terms, the existing rules are tightened by committing to a number of actions. They include maintaining the total ban on the use of ZTE equipment, maintaining the classification of Huawei and ZTE ashigh-risk vendors, and banning the purchase of 5G Huawei equipment starting January 2021. Also included will be maintaining the current limitations on the use of Huawei’s equipment on wireless and wireline networks, and requiring that all Huawei equipment be phased out completely by 2027.

China Tech Threat’s John Strand and Roslyn Layton played crucial roles in the decision-making process, testifying to Parliament on the seriousness of technological threats from firms owned and affiliated with the Chinese government. . Importantly, they testified that the cost of ripping and replacing malign Chinese equipment is marginal, and that non-Chinese vendors are competitive in price. This was backed by British telecom companies BT and Vodafone who told their vendors that it would not hurt their financial position to comply with the UK government policy. Separately Strand Consult provided a mapping of Huawei in European networks, which is being used by the European government to identify problem areas. Add report link

The UK is one of a number of European companies that has shifted policy following the COVID-19 pandemic, in recognition of the critical nature of telecommunications networks. Fortunately switching to safe, non-Chinese vendors is cost-competitive. To learn more, see the collected research from Strand Consult.