Britain is set to phase out Huawei equipment from its 5G mobile networks this year, the U.K. press reported over the weekend. If so, it marks a major U-turn in the government’s position on the Chinese telecommunications giant.
The government is drawing up plans to strip Huawei gear from Britain’s next-generation networks by the end of the year, The Sunday Times and The Daily Telegraph newspapers reported.
It comes after London said in January that Huawei could play a limited role in Britain’s 5G networks, a move which angered the U.S. as it sought to get other countries to block the Chinese company. Washington maintains that Huawei is a national security risk, alleging its equipment could be used by Beijing for espionage. Huawei has repeatedly denied the claim.
The apparent policy reversal was driven by a new report from a branch of British intelligence agency GCHQ that raised new security fears over Huawei following U.S. moves to cut off the Chinese firm from key chips.