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UK could start phasing out Huawei 5G kit soon

(Image credit: Image Credit: J.Lekavicius / Shutterstock)

The UK may be inching close to removing Huawei equipment from its 5G networks following further sanctions from the US.

Although the UK government had said it would not be following the United States in banning Huawei's 5G gear from its infrastructure, it seems the decision may soon be moot anyway.

According to Bloomberg, which quotes sources from the UK government “familiar with the matter”, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will start phasing out Huawei equipment as soon as this year, deeming it a security liability.

The call doesn’t seem to have been immediately influenced by the nature of Huawei's approach, or the way the Chinese government micromanages its tech companies. Instead, it was deemed a risk because of US sanctions, which are forcing the Chinese telecoms giant to turn to untrusted manufacturers for parts.

We don’t know the exact date when the phasing out could begin.

“If the U.S. imposes sanctions, which they have done, we believe that could have a significant impact on the reliability of Huawei equipment and when we can use it safely,” Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden told Sky News on Monday. “If it’s appropriate to change policy, we’ll clearly make a statement to the House of Commons when we’ve been through that and made a decision.”

The United States have been a vocal proponent of banning all tech things originating from China. The country’s lawmakers are claiming the Chinese government is controlling its country’s tech companies, and that it could, at any given time, force it to install backdoors into its 5G infrastructure. That could allow it to eavesdrop on its western adversaries, making Huawei’s 5G gear a threat to national security.

To that end, the US has banned its companies from buying Huawei’s gear, and in some instances, doing business with it altogether. The Chinese telecoms giant has since lost support for Google’s Android platform and its app store.