UK Government to Bar Telecoms from Buying Huawei Equipment

The UK government will bar telecom companies from purchasing new equipment made by China’s Huawei Technologies Co., The Wall Street Journal reported. The telecom companies have until 2027 to remove Huawei technology from their 5G networks.

Senior executives from Vodafone Group PLC and BT Group PLC told a parliamentary committee last week that a five-to-seven-year time frame would be needed to remove Huawei equipment to avoid disruption. But a group of Conservative lawmakers has been pressing the government to remove the equipment at a faster pace.

One thing to consider (as reported by The Wall Street Journal) is that the British telecoms have warned that the deadline to remove Huawei products from their networks could result in blackouts for customers. Personally, I think that’s going to negatively affect people, especially considering how many people are using the internet to connect with family members and to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic.

In May, the U.S. Department of Commerce unveiled a new rule that that expanded U.S. authority to require licenses for sales to Huawei Technologies of semiconductors made abroad with U.S. technology.

The UK government’s decision that requires telecoms to stop buying Huawei equipment comes after the rule made by the United States. According to The Wall Street Journal, the British the U.S. rule has raised questions about the quality of Huawei kit in the future.

The BBC reported that there are other political considerations that may have influenced the UK government to separate its telecom infrastructure from Huawei. According to the BBC, the UK wants to strike a trade deal with the United States. My assumption is that the U.S. might look more favorably upon countries that exclude Huawei than ones that do not.

The BBC also reported that there are growing tensions with China over China’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak and its treatment of Hong Kong (which was once a British colony).