Britain has now also shown the Chinese technology manufacturer Huawei the door.
The British Parliament was informed on Tuesday that from 2021 all local service providers will no longer be allowed to purchase any of Huawei’s 5G equipment and that any existing 5G equipment must be removed from the company by 2027.
This gives UK service providers such as BT, Vodafone and Three seven years to remove all Huawei equipment from their 5G networks.
It is expected to cost billions of service providers to replace existing equipment and slow down the expansion of 5G to more parts of the country.
Britain’s ban on the use of Huawei’s 5G networking equipment follows similar steps by the US where the Chinese company has long been considered a national security risk.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson initially ordered in January that Huawei could play a “limited role” in providing 5G equipment in the country.
However, Britain’s National Security Council met on Tuesday and decided to ban Huawei altogether as a supplier of 5G equipment.
America’s Pres. Donald Trump is openly opposed to Huawei and accuses the company of spying on other countries’ citizens on behalf of the Chinese government.
Trump also reportedly put pressure on Johnson to stop using Huawei’s 5G equipment, reports Reuters.
Britain is apparently also unhappy with the Chinese government’s interventions in Hong Kong and also fears that the country is not telling the full truth about the origin of the new coronavirus.
“It was not an easy decision, but it was the right decision for British service providers, our national security and our economy,” Oliver Dowden, digital secretary, said in the British parliament on Tuesday.
The latest restrictions only apply to the purchase and installation of Huawei’s equipment for 5G networks, reports the BBC.
The British government does want to start phasing out the use of Huawei’s equipment in other forms of communication, including its national fiber network, Dowden said.
Huawei’s smartphones and other equipment aimed at everyday consumers will still be on sale in Britain.
The British ban also has no effect on the use of Huawei equipment by South African service providers.
Vodacom, Rain and MTN already offer access to 5G in some cities.
MTN and Huawei entered into a partnership in 2019 according to which the Chinese technology manufacturer will supply 5G equipment to MTN.
5G refers to so-called fifth-generation cellular networks and is the successor to 4G, 3G and 2G.
Each generation provides additional speed and enables more devices to connect to the network.