LONDON (AP) — Britain on Tuesday backtracked on plans to give Chinese telecommunications company Huawei a role in the U.K.’s new high-speed mobile phone network amid security concerns fueled by rising tensions between Beijing and Western powers.
Britain said it decided to prohibit Huawei from working on the so-called 5G system after U.S. sanctions made it impossible to ensure the security of equipment made by the Chinese company.
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The U.S. had also threatened to sever an intelligence-sharing arrangement with Britain because of concerns that Huawei’s involvement could allow the Chinese government to infiltrate U.K. networks.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden told Parliament the decision would delay the rollout of 5G technology and increase costs by up to 2 billion pounds ($2.5 billion), but that it had to be done.
“This has not been an easy decision, but it is the right one,” he said.
The decision forces British telecoms operators to stop buying 5G equipment from Huawei by the end of this year but gives them until 2027 to remove Huawei gear that has already been used in the network, which is currently under construction.