Huawei kit removal legal documents handed to broadband and mobile operators

Legal documents have been handed to broadband and mobile operators today that reinforce the requirement for Huawei technology to be removed from the UK’s 5G public networks by the end of 2027.

The document – called a designated vendor direction – has been sent to 35 UK telecoms network operators. It puts the government’s previous position to remove Huawei kit from UK 5G networks on a legal footing.

As part of this announcement, UK MNOs have been given additional time to remove Huawei equipment from 5G network cores. Huawei products must now be removed from the network core by the end of December 2023, an extension of 11 months, with a limit on the amount of Huawei kit in fibre broadband infrastructure moved from July to October next year.

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.

The designation notice sets out the reasons for which the government considers Huawei to pose a national security risk, including the impact of the sanctions.

Digital Secretary Michelle Donelan said, “We must have confidence in the security of our phone and internet networks which underpin so much about our economy and everyday lives. Thanks to this government’s tough new laws we can drive up the security of telecoms infrastructure and control the use of high-risk equipment.

“Today I’m using these powers and making it a legal requirement for Huawei to be removed from 5G networks by 2027.”

Dr Ian Levy, technical director, NCSC, added, “Society increasingly relies on telecoms and the NCSC, government and industry partners work closely to help ensure that these networks are secure and resilient in the long term.

“The Telecoms Security Act ensures we can be confident in the resilience of the everyday services on which we rely, and the legal requirements in this Designated Vendor Direction are a key part of the security journey.”