Telecoms firms call for target on pulling out Huawei kit to be eased as ban looms
BRITAIN’S telecoms firms are urging the Government to scrap targets to strip most Huawei kit from networks by 2023 if tighter restrictions on the Chinese giant are unveiled this week.
In January, the Government told providers that Huawei kit could only be used in the “non-core” elements of the next generation 5G network, and a 35pc cap would be imposed on its use in the wider network, including 3G and 4G, by 2023.
On Tuesday, ministers are expected to announce a total ban on all Huawei gear in Britain’s 5G network. Oliver Dowden, the Culture Secretary, is expected to tell networks to remove all of the Chinese firm’s equipment from their networks by 2025.
In response, big networks such as Vodafone, Three, O2 and BT, are intensifying calls for the Government to drop its original targets set in January to allow for a smoother overhaul of thousands of telecom towers, masts and base stations that rely on Chinese kit.
“There are sensible ways of ripping out network equipment, and there are less sensible ways of ripping out network equipment,” an industry source said.
“Longer timescales have a bunch of benefits, it means we can do more sensible network planning that allows us to replace kit in cell towers while maintaining service in the area.”
It was reported at the weekend that Huawei was seeking a last-minute meeting with the Government before the new measures were announced. However, no such meeting is expected.
“Huawei is a private company, 100pc owned by its employees, and has no links to the Chinese military,” a spokesman for the company said.