This move comes as the number of 5G equipment vendors has now slipped down to just two, which introduces long-term security risk
The British government is set to launch a new diversity task force in order to find a supplier capable of filling the void that has been left by a ban on Huawei’s telecoms equipment within the UK’s 5G infrastructure.
Mobile networks across the UK will be banned from purchasing the 5G kit from Huawei from the end of this year, leaving just two large-scale suppliers active within the British market, which are Ericsson and Nokia.
This comes after the uK’s Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, has said that that all Huawei technology is to be removed from the UK’s 5G network by 2027, and said that it would be made illegal for tech firms to buy any 5G equipment from Huawei.
Although the ban had taken place on security grounds, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has said that the dependence on just two telecoms suppliers also introduces a significant risk to the long-term security of the UK’s 5G networks.
The security that is provided by a more diverse marketplace was the main reason that NCSC gave for initially assessing that the UK’s 5G networks were safer to be including Huawei’s telecoms equipment as well as the equipment manufactured by Ericsson and Nokia.
However, following a decision made by the White House to ban US-based companies from providing computer chips to Huawei, which potentially pushes it to adopt chips produced by less trusted manufacturers from elsewhere, the NCSC was forced to upgrade the risk posed of the UK by Huawei equipment.
The sanctions from the US were criticised by Huawei as being “arbitrary and pernicious”, which has confirmed that 40% of the job roles within its enterprise business group within the UK are now losing their jobs as a result of this decision.
This comes after the UK could soon be seeing 49,000 new cases of COVID-19 every day unless further action is taken in order to drive down the current rate of infection in the country, according to the government’s chief scientific adviser.
On Wednesday the government said it planned to publish a telecoms diversification strategy later this year “to address a market failure where mobile companies are limited to using just three major suppliers in their telecoms networks”.
“This restricts choice and poses a risk for the security and resilience of the UK’s future digital networks,” the statement added.
Lord Livingston said: “It is vital that we position ourselves for the next generation of technology, particularly 5G, by having a wide choice of secure, innovative and high quality suppliers.”
“I look forward to chairing this team of experts from industry and academia who can provide advice to government as to how it can best achieve these aims,” Lord Livingston added.