Britain bans Huawei from 5G networks

The British government has backtracked on plans to give Chinese telecommunications company Huawei a limited role in the UK’s new high-speed mobile phone network in a decision with broad implications for relations between London and Beijing.

Britain imposed the ban after Donald Trump threatened to sever an intelligence-sharing arrangement because of concerns Huawei equipment could allow the Chinese government to infiltrate UK networks.

UK Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden gave telecoms operators until 2027 to remove Huawei equipment already in Britain’s 5G network.

“This has not been an easy decision, but it is the right one,″ he said.

He said that from the end of this year, telecoms operators mustn’t buy any 5G equipment from Huawei.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was under pressure from rebels in his own Conservative Party who criticized China’s new Hong Kong security law and its treatment of ethnic Uighurs, as well as Huawei’s links to the Chinese government. Ten Conservative MPs wrote to Johnson demanding that he remove Huawei from “the UK’s critical national infrastructure.”

Johnson had sought to balance economic and security pressures by agreeing to give Huawei a limited role in Britain’s so-called 5G network, excluding the company from core components of the system and restricting its involvement to 35% of the overall project.

Huawei said the move was "bad news for anyone in the UK with a mobile phone" and threatened to "move Britain into the digital slow lane, push up bills and deepen the digital divide".

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