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UK to phase out Huawei gear from 5G networks in a major policy U-turn after US sanctions

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The United Kingdom is drawing up plans to strip Huawei gear from Britain’s 5G networks by the end of the year, British media reported.

The policy reversal follows a new report from a branch of British intelligence agency GCHQ that raised security fears over the tech giant. Prime minister Boris Johnson’s government is now drawing up plans to stop the purchase of new Huawei gear and rip out existing 5G equipment, media said.

In January, the government allowed Huawei to play a limited role in Britain’s 5G networks, denying the United States’ efforts to ban the company. Huawei was banned from supplying kit to “sensitive parts” of the network, known as the core.

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In May, the US banned American technology for Chinese processor chips. The commerce department said that any foreign chipmakers producing chips from designs by Huawei and its affiliates with the use of American design tools or equipment will have to apply for a license from the department.

After that, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre launched an emergency review of Huawei’s role, following a significant rebellion over the issue in March and domestic pressure since the coronavirus crisis began to take a tougher line on China.

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“Following the US announcement of additional sanctions against Huawei, the National Cyber Security Centre is looking carefully at any impact they could have to the UK’s networks. The security and resilience of our networks is of paramount importance”, it said.

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