Britain turns to Japanese telecoms firm NEC after banning China’s Huawei from 5G network
- UK restates commitment to banning ‘high-risk’ vendors as it says operators must stop installing Huawei equipment by September next year
- London decided to ban the Chinese telecoms giant in July amid heightened tensions with Beijing over Hong Kong
Britain has announced a new partnership with the Japanese telecoms firm NEC following its decision to ban the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei Technologies from its 5G network.
On Monday, Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said the British operators “must stop installing any Huawei equipment” from September next year — an earlier date than had been expected.
The decision is part of Downing Street’s road map for the complete removal of high-risk vendor equipment from the UK’s 5G networks, alongside a new £250 million (US$333 million) strategy to diversify the telecoms market with plans for a National Telecoms Lab and trials with NEC.
Next year the UK will hold the presidency of the Group of Seven nations, a platform it has hopes will expand to include South Korea, India and Australia. It has identified 5G technology as a promising field for collaboration between the 10 democracies, or D10.
“Today I am setting out a clear path for the complete removal of high-risk vendors from our 5G networks,” Dowden said.
“This will be done through new and unprecedented powers to identify and ban telecoms equipment which poses a threat to our national security. 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,” he added.
NEC is expected to deliver live 5G open radio access network (RAN) – a new way of building telecoms networks where components from different suppliers can be used in a single mobile network – within the UK in 2021.
The British government decided to ban Huawei in July amid heightened tension with Beijing over the issue of Hong Kong and pressure from Washington, which views the firm as a security risk.
Under the British government’s 5G plan, domestic phone companies will not be able to buy any new Huawei components for their 5G networks after the end of this year. All existing equipment made by the Shenzhen-based company will be removed from the 5G infrastructure by 2027.