5G & Infrastructure

U.K. reportedly draws up plan to phase out Huawei equipment from 5G networks

This move could impact Canada's own decision regarding its Huawei 5G review

The United Kingdom has reportedly drawn up a plan to phase out Huawei equipment from its 5G networks citing national security concerns.

Conservative members of the U.K. government have pushed Prime Minister Boris Johnson to remove Huawei’s equipment from 5G networks by 2023.

Earlier this year in January, the U.K. granted the Chinese telecom a limited role in the deployment of its 5G networks despite pressure from the U.S. to ban the company from any involvement.

Johnson had said that Huawei would be allowed to participate in the “non-sensitive” parts of the deployment. He ruled that Huawei could not participate in more than 35 percent of the rollout.

The U.K. government is now conducting a new review regarding the potential impacts of allowing the company to participate in the deployment.

The U.S. has argued that using Huawei equipment to roll out the next generation of wireless technology could weaken national security and expose the allied countries to cybersecurity threats.

This new move by the U.K. government could impact Canada’s own decision regarding its Huawei 5G review. Although Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains said in March that the government will make a decision based on national interest, there isn’t any information on a potential timeline on when the decision will be made.

Analysts had said that the U.K.’s decision regarding Huawei gave Canada cover to not execute an outright ban on the company. If the U.K. officially breaks its ties with Huawei, this may persuade Canada to take similar steps.

A recent survey conducted by the Angus Reid Institute found that 78 percent of Canadians believe that the federal government should not allow Huawei to participate in the deployment of 5G.

Tensions between Canada and Huawei arose once Vancouver authorities arrested the company’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou in December 2018 at the request of the United States for violating sanctions in Iran.

A B.C. Supreme Court judge is scheduled to make a decision on her extradition case on May 27th, which could impact the government’s Huawei review.

Source: Financial Times, TechCrunch