Confirming what everybody was thinking today, the UK Government has banned all UK Telcos from buying any Huawei Telecoms kit after the end of the year. Furthermore, Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden announced that Chinese firms, Huawei and ZTE will need to be removed from the UK’s 2G, 3G and 4G networks by the end of 2027. The cost of these decisions is estimated to be up to £2 Billion. However, the reason cited is security of networks, which the USA had long suggested would be open to eavesdropping by the Chinese Government, if Huawei were to play a part in networks. GCHQ seems to have agreed and recommended as much to the UK Government. Huawei’s estimated 1,600 employees in the UK may be nervous, but in the back of their minds they will be aware that the investment in 5G is unavoidable, so they may be able to secure jobs elsewhere.
In terms of alternatives in the market, Scandinavian providers, Nokia and Ericsson have been in the Network Infrastructure market for many years, whilst South Korean Samsung, famous for its Android phones, has entered 5G, although it is not interested in 4G. Furthermore, this may open up the possibility for domestic players to provide niche skills, equipment and software, with the UK Government being active; last week, with its eye fixed firmly on high-speed broadband, it was part of a Consortium that won the bid to take a stake in Satellite manufacturer, OneWeb. Could it be possible for the UK Government to invest in 5G?