Huawei Gets a Taste of Brexit

Telecom operators switching on commercial 5G networks; Huawei vs. U.S. tensions
Francis Scialabba

by Neal Freyman

UK Pulls a U-Turn, Bans Huawei Gear by 2027

We can’t tell you much about what’s going to happen in 2027, but we do know that British telecom companies won’t have any equipment from China’s Huawei in their networks.

Yesterday, the UK government banned domestic firms from buying new equipment from Huawei after 2020 and gave them seven years to strip out any Huawei gear they already were using.

The backstory: Huawei is the largest telecom equipment manufacturer in the world, and its prices can’t be beat. However, some Western governments worry that the Chinese government could use Huawei gear as a Trojan horse to spy on them. The U.S. has been the most anti-Huawei of all, consistently pushing its allies to block the company.

Initially, the UK wasn’t swayed, saying it would allow Huawei gear in the “non-core” parts of its 5G network. But yesterday it made a U-turn, citing U.S. sanctions on chips that could dent the quality of Huawei products.

Bottom line: The British reversal is a major geopolitical win for the U.S. in its fight with China for tech supremacy.

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