British govt consults on legal direction to restrict use of Huawei equipment

21 Feb 2022

The British government has opened a consultation on proposed legal instruments to mandate the removal of all Huawei equipment from 5G networks by end of 2027, while proposed measures for full fibre broadband operators to stop installing Huawei equipment affected by US sanctions will also be examined. In a press release regarding the matter, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) noted that UK telecoms providers have already begun to remove Huawei kit from the UK’s 5G networks following an announcement by the government in July 2020 which called for its removal by 2027. As the next step in this process, the government is now required by the new Telecommunications (Security) Act – which entered into force in November 2021 – to consult with industry on the proposed measures which would bring these controls on Huawei onto a legal footing.

The legal instruments the government is consulting on are known as a ‘designated vendor direction’, which contains requirements that public telecoms providers would need to follow regarding use of Huawei equipment and services; and a ‘designation notice’ which categorises the Chinese firm as a high-risk vendor. The direction, subject to the consultation, legally requires telecoms operators to: remove all Huawei equipment from 5G networks by the end of 2027; not install Huawei equipment in 5G networks, effective immediately upon the issuing of the final direction; remove all Huawei equipment from the core of telecoms networks by 28 January 2023; not install sanctions-affected Huawei equipment in full fibre networks, effective immediately upon the issuing of the direction; reduce the share of Huawei equipment to 35% of the full fibre and 5G access (i.e. non-core) networks by 31 July 2023; and remove Huawei high data rate intra-core and inter-operator transmission equipment from all networks by 31 December 2025.

With the consultation scheduled to run for four weeks, it is only open to public communications providers which would receive the direction, and Huawei, as the proposed designated vendor.

United Kingdom, Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), Huawei Technologies