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DCMS confirms issuance of legal notices to operators related to removal of Huawei equipment

14 Oct 2022

A ‘designated vendor direction’ has been sent to a total of 35 telecommunications networks operators in the UK, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) has confirmed. This document, the ministry noted, ‘puts the government’s previous position to remove Huawei kit from UK 5G networks on a legal footing’.

With the direction setting out controls to be placed on operators’ use of Huawei equipment, these include: an immediate ban on the installation of new Huawei equipment in 5G networks; a requirement to remove Huawei equipment from 5G networks by the end of 2027; a requirement to remove Huawei equipment from the network core by 31 December 2023; a requirement to limit Huawei to 35% of the full fibre access network by 31 October 2023; a requirement to remove Huawei equipment from sites significant to national security by 28 January 2023; and a requirement not to install any Huawei equipment that has been affected by US sanctions in full fibre networks.

Notably, the direction will give British fixed line incumbent BT more time to remove Huawei equipment from its network core; the operator had previously been directed to remove such kit by January 2023, but back in June 2022 it requested an extension to the deadline ‘to reflect significant COVID-driven impacts to the [equipment removal] programme over the past two years’.

Meanwhile, the DCMS has also now confirmed that Huawei has been issued a separate document – a ‘designation notice’ – which categorises the company as a high-risk vendor of 5G network equipment and services. This designation reportedly sets out all of the reasons for which the government considers Huawei to pose a national security risk, including the impact of the sanctions.

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