The UK government made its plan for the removal of Huawei equipment from public 5G networks by the end of 2027 into law, while pushing back an interim target for stripping out the Chinese vendor’s kit from the core of the network by 11 months to end-December 2023.

In a statement, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) noted it had issued a document to 35 industry players, dubbed the designated vendor direction, which puts the government’s decision regarding Huawei kit made in 2020 on a legal footing.

Indeed, work has already started by operators to remove kit, but the DCMS was required to conduct a consultation process with the industry, which it launched in February.

“Having fully considered consultation responses, the key deadline to remove all Huawei equipment in the UK’s 5G network by 2027 remains unchanged, as do eight of the other interim deadlines to guide operators in meeting the 2027 deadline,” the DCMS stated.

Unnecessary instability
It launched the consultation at roughly the same time it decided to push back a deadline for operators to reduce use of Huawei’s kit in 5G access networks to 35 per cent to end-July 2023.

The DCMS made this decision due to operator concerns the initial deadline of January 2023 could have led to network outages and disruption for customers, due to Covid-19 (coronavirus) and global supply issue related delays.

It added that after having considered comments raised by the industry, it had now formally set interim deadlines “that balance the need to remove Huawei as swiftly as possible without avoiding unnecessary instability in networks”.

For the removal of  Huawei equipment from the network core, it set a deadline of 31 December 2023, which was originally set for the end of January. A limit of 35 per cent for the full fibre access of the network was shifted to end-October from the original end-July target.

Huawei has also been issued a separate document, dubbed a designation notice, legally categorising the company as a high-risk vendor.

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