UK reportedly to phase out Huawei from 5G network

Decision comes as many countries reexamine their relationship with Beijing

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Huawei may soon be phased out from UK's 5G network.

Huawei may soon be phased out from UK's 5G network. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The UK government is moving toward a full phase-out of Huawei technology from Britain’s 5G network within three years.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reportedly instructed officials to come up with plans to reduce Huawei’s involvement in the nation's infrastructure to zero by 2023, the Daily Telegraph reported, and officials have confirmed the reports, according to the Financial Times (FT).

Citing national security concerns, the UK’s Conservative Party has pressured the government to remove Huawei equipment from the country’s 5G network. This comes as Johnson’s administration is being pushed by Tory MPs to reset UK-China relations amid accusations that Beijing did not initially disclose the true scale of the Wuhan coronavirus problem, FT reported.

However, the decision could prove to be rather costly for the British telecom firms that already use Huawei technology in their 5G networks, including EE, Vodafone, and Three, FT reported. In addition to higher costs to replace the Huawei kit, the order could also slow down the rollout of 5G.

Huawei executive Victor Zhang told FT that “We’ve seen the reports from unnamed sources which simply don’t make sense. The government decided in January to approve our part in the 5G rollout because Britain needs the best possible technologies, more choice, innovation, and more suppliers, all of which means more secure and more resilient networks.”

Johnson has also signaled he plans to make the country more self-sufficient in terms of its medical equipment, most of which is currently made in China.