UK telcos face fine if they use network from high-risk vendors, like Huawei

Telecom operators in the United Kingdom could face a fine of up to 10 percent of turnover or 100,000 pounds ($133,140) per day if they contravene a ban on using equipment made by China’s Huawei Technologies under a new law, Reuters reported.
Huawei Harmony OS
The Telecommunications (Security) Bill will boost the security standards of the UK’s telecoms networks and remove the threat of high-risk vendors, the government said.

UK government believes that the Bill will strengthen the security framework for technology used in 5G and full fibre networks including the electronic equipment and software at phone mast sites and in telephone exchanges which handle internet traffic and telephone calls.

This will be a significant step to protect the UK from hostile cyber activity by state actors or criminals. Over the past two years the Government has attributed a range of cyber attacks to Russia and China, as well as North Korea and Iranian actors.

Britain in July decided to ban the use of Huawei in 5G networks from the end of 2027 because of concerns that U.S. sanctions on chip technology meant the Chinese company would not be a reliable supplier. Huawei is the world’s #1 telecom network supplier.

The bill aims to enshrine that decision in law and manage any risks from other high-risk vendors in the future, with tough penalties for telecom companies that break the rules.

Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said the benefits of 5G and fibre networks could only be realized if they were secure and resilient.

“This groundbreaking bill will give the UK one of the toughest telecoms security regimes in the world and allow us to take the action necessary to protect our networks,” he said.

Huawei said it was disappointed that the government was looking to exclude it from the roll-out of 5G.

“This decision is politically motivated and not based on a fair evaluation of the risks,” said Huawei vice president Victor Zhang.

“It does not serve anyone’s best interests as it would move Britain into the digital slow lane and put at risk the Government’s levelling up agenda.”

The government said the tougher security standards in the bill would help protect Britain from potential cyber attacks from countries and criminals.

Telecom regulator Ofcom will be given the duty of monitoring and assessing the security of telecoms providers.