Ministers are braced for backlash when they confirm Huawei is banned from involvement in 5G network

Ministers are braced for backlash when they confirm Huawei is banned from involvement in 5G network

Comments Off on Ministers are braced for backlash when they confirm Huawei is banned from involvement in 5G network

Ministers are braced for backlash from Beijing when they confirm today that Huawei is banned from involvement in UK’s 5G network

  • Telecoms firms to be banned on installing new equipment supplied by Huawei
  • Huawei executives held talks with officials in the hope of watering down plans
  • BT boss says it could take ten years to strip Huawei equipment from UK networks

Ministers are braced for a backlash from Beijing today when they confirm a ban on Huawei’s involvement in the 5G network.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden will announce that telecoms firms will be banned from installing new equipment supplied by the Chinese giant by Christmas.

He will also order firms to rip out all existing Huawei kit by the middle of this decade.

Huawei executives held last-ditch talks yesterday with officials from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) in the hope of watering down the plans.

The Huawei ban follows intense pressure from Donald Trump to deny China a foothold in the West¿s critical infrastructure. Tough American sanctions have prevented the firm from using any US-patented technology in its microchips

The Huawei ban follows intense pressure from Donald Trump to deny China a foothold in the West’s critical infrastructure. Tough American sanctions have prevented the firm from using any US-patented technology in its microchips

But a Whitehall source said the ban would go ahead, adding: ‘It’s fair to say Huawei won’t be very happy with the result.’

The U-turn could jeopardise Boris Johnson’s target to roll out full fibre broadband to the entire country by 2025.

BT chief executive Philip Jansen said yesterday it could take ten years to strip out Huawei’s equipment from UK networks.

He also warned of ‘outages’ and possible security risks if the sector was told to curtail all business with the Chinese technology firm during the 5G network upgrade.

Ministers are also watching for a backlash from Beijing, which has warned the UK will face consequences if it sides with the US to ban one of the jewels in China’s industrial crown.

Industry sources said yesterday the decision not to ban Huawei until Christmas left open the chance that US policy could change if President Trump fails to secure re-election in November

Industry sources said yesterday the decision not to ban Huawei until Christmas left open the chance that US policy could change if President Trump fails to secure re-election in November

Former MI6 chief Sir Richard Dearlove warned at the weekend that Beijing could even order retaliatory cyber-attacks against the UK, adding: ‘It’s a threat and I think we’ve known quite significantly that the Chinese have developed this capability and are prepared to use it.’ 

The Huawei ban follows intense pressure from Donald Trump to deny China a foothold in the West’s critical infrastructure.

Tough American sanctions have prevented the firm from using any US-patented technology in its microchips.

Mr Johnson’s National Security Council will consider a report from the NCSC on the impact of the US sanctions on Huawei’s ability to supply the 5G network.

A Whitehall source said the sanctions have had a ‘severe’ effect on the firm, adding: ‘There is no way that we can now say their equipment is safe.’

Industry sources said yesterday the decision not to ban Huawei until Christmas left open the chance that US policy could change if President Trump fails to secure re-election in November.

But with a powerful group of Tory MPs also pushing for Huawei’s expulsion, few in Whitehall believe the firm has any prospect of long-term involvement in 5G even if Mr Trump loses.

Huawei executives held last-ditch talks yesterday with officials from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) in the hope of watering down the plans. One of the company's offices is pictured above in Reading

Huawei executives held last-ditch talks yesterday with officials from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) in the hope of watering down the plans. One of the company’s offices is pictured above in Reading

Bob Seely, a Tory MP who is co-ordinator of the Huawei Interest Group, which has pressed ministers to impose a ban, yesterday welcomed signs that the Government has had a change of heart.

He said it is critical that Huawei is banned from installing new kit by the end of this year.

Huawei has always denied that its equipment represents a security risk. The firm insists it is not controlled by the Chinese state.

But critics claim Huawei is being used as a Trojan Horse by Beijing to undermine the West’s critical infrastructure.

In January, ministers ruled that firms should be allowed to install Huawei kit up to a 35 per cent cap, despite the firm being designated a ‘high risk vendor’ because of its links to the Chinese state.

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Manoj Prajapati

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