UK's Huawei 5G ban brought forward to September 2021

Huawei logo displayed on a shopfront
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The UK government has told telecoms providers they must stop installing Huawei equipment in the country's 5G networks from September 2021.

British operators were already set to be banned from purchasing new equipment from 31 December this year, but the new rules will address concerns that Huawei equipment could be stockpiled to be installed at a later date.

The announcement comes ahead of the release of the Telecommunications Security Bill, which is due to be unveiled on Tuesday and will ban the Chinese firm from the UK's networks.

The digital secretary, Oliver Dowden, has called for the "complete removal" of so-called high-risk vendors, which Huawei has been labelled as by the British government. The new deadline to remove the Chinese firm's equipment is earlier than expected, but telecoms providers will still be allowed to maintain old equipment for now.

Huawei recently proposed that the government review its ban, following the election defeat of Donald Trump in the US, but the new Telecommunications Security Bill is the first step to enshrine any ban in law, should it be passed in Parliament on Tuesday.

The measures that relate to Huawei are contained in an illustrative designated vendor direction for MPs to scrutinise. It makes clear how ministers may use the Bill to restrict the use of Huawei's goods and services in 5G networks and brings together all the government's previous releases on Huawei.

"Today I am setting out a clear path for the complete removal of high-risk vendors from our 5G networks," said digital secretary Oliver Dowden. "This will be done through new and unprecedented powers to identify and ban telecoms equipment which poses a threat to our national security.

"We are also publishing a new strategy to make sure we are never again dependent on a handful of telecoms vendors for the smooth and secure running of our networks. Our plans will spark a wave of innovation in the design of our future mobile networks."

The Bill will be another blow to Huawei and its attempts to build trust with international governments. IT Pro has approached the company for comment.

Bobby Hellard

Bobby Hellard is ITPro's Reviews Editor and has worked on CloudPro and ChannelPro since 2018. In his time at ITPro, Bobby has covered stories for all the major technology companies, such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, and regularly attends industry-leading events such as AWS Re:Invent and Google Cloud Next.

Bobby mainly covers hardware reviews, but you will also recognize him as the face of many of our video reviews of laptops and smartphones.