After resisting pressure from the United States for months, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is apparently preparing to remove the use of Huawei equipment from UK 5G networks, the Financial times reported. Citing national security concerns, members of the UK's Tory party have lobbied for Huawei technology to be removed from the UK's 5G infrastructure and the rest of its telecommunications network by 2023.
The Trump administration has banned the government's use of Huawei technology, and the president signed an executive order last May that blocks US companies from buying foreign-made telecommunications equipment that may pose risks to national security. The order does not single out any companies, but is seen as a way to exclude Chinese companies like ZTE and Huawei from doing business in the United States. Last week, Trump extended the ban until May 2021.
The United States has argued that Huawei could build backdoors in the network infrastructure, apparently to aid the Chinese government's spying efforts, a charge Huawei has repeatedly denied.
Trump reportedly called Johnson earlier this year to discuss the matter, and at least one member of Congress said the United States was reconsidering its intelligence partnership with the United Kingdom.
Johnson had limited the amount of Huawei equipment that could be used for 5G networks in the United Kingdom, prohibiting the use of the company's technology in the most sensitive parts of the network. He said in January that there were not many other options available for the UK's 5G infrastructure, and telecommunications Vodafone said that removing Huawei equipment from its networks would be extremely expensive.