The UK Bans Huawei 5G Equipment Over Security Fears

Mobile providers in the UK have been banned from buying new Huawei 5G equipment from 31 December 2020 onwards. They have also been instructed to remove all Huawei 5G equipment from their networks by 2027.

The news was announced by Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden yesterday. He said that the decision would delay the UKs 5G rollout by two to three years and would cost around GBP 2 billion.

“This has not been an easy decision, but it is the right one for the UK telecoms networks, for our national security, and our economy, both now and indeed in the long run,” he said.

Huawei called the decision “bad news for anyone in the UK with a mobile phone” and threatened to “move Britain into the digital slow lane, push up bills, and deepen the digital divide.” The Chinese ambassador to the UK called the decision “disappointing and wrong”.

The UK’s decision came following a number of sanctions imposed on Huawei in the US. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo welcomed the news saying that the UK was joining a growing list of countries that are standing up for their national security by prohibiting the use of untrusted and high-risk vendors.

The Chinese telecoms firm has been in the midst of global controversy regarding concerns over privacy and the risk of espionage. Notably, the company has been accused of using 5G and other equipment to spy on citizens of foreign countries. 

In addition to this, Huawei, staff members, and affiliated companies have been charged with bank fraud, stealing trade secrets, flouting US sanctions on Iran, wire fraud, money laundering, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice.

Huawei faces restrictions, limitations, or issues in Australia, Brazil, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, and Poland. Facebook, the EU, and the University of Oxford have all enacted restrictions or refusals for cooperation with the company. 

In 2019 Vodafone Albania announced it would be the first operator to bring the 5G experience to Albania. Prime Minister Edi Rama welcomed the technology and praised Vodafone for its achievements.

Shortly after the announcement, the US Embassy warned against the risks of the new technology following the government’s willingness to partner with them. 

At the Western Balkans Conference in 2019, Lelya Moses-Ones said that “nations like China desire to seize the digital lifeline of the Western Balkans to siphon information from, and choke the networks of US allies.”

“Albania is already doing the right thing by exercising vigilance by protecting its networks. Again, some things in Albania are simply not for sale,” she said.

The government then quietly withdrew from the project.

Vodafone Albania and Huawei Albania have not responded to any requests for comment.


Please note that the UK and US’s reasons for banning Huawei and its 5G projects have nothing to do with alleged health implications behind the technology. These so-called risks have widely been debunked as fake news.