British telecom providers BT and Vodafone warn that removing Huawei equipment from their networks will take at least five years. Besides, the costs to remove all the equipment would take billions of pounds.
Earlier this month, it was reported that the British government is drafting plans to remove Huawei equipment from its networks. Initially, the Chinese manufacturer was only banned from certain parts of the network (such as vulnerable elements), but now the UK wants to completely remove the Chinese company’s equipment from the 5G networks. This is already happening in the US, where Huawei was used extensively in rural areas.
Vodafone expects the costs to reach several billion pounds, while BT (another major UK provider) expects the costs to be in the region of five hundred million pounds. And even with those estimates, the complete removal of existing Huawei equipment will still take at least five years.
Huawei and espionage
The British government may take the costs of removing Huawei equipment for granted as it means that there is no longer any reason to question the security of the network. According to the US, Huawei has direct ties to the Chinese government, although Huawei always denied this accusation. Evidence of this has never been published. Any communication using the technology could end up in the wrong hands.
Recently, the United States reinforced the restrictions on the Chinese technology manufacturer. American companies are only allowed to do business with Huawei if a special licence is granted. Also, money obtained through government subsidies can no longer be used to purchase products from Huawei after the manufacturer has been labelled a ‘national security threat’.