U.K. mobile operators must stop installing any Huawei equipment in 5G networks, as of the end of September 2021, the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said in a release.
The government expects to release today a roadmap for the complete removal of high risk vendor equipment from the U.K.’s 5G networks, the ministry said.
In July, in response to U.S. sanctions, the U.K. government announced that local operators should stop procuring new Huawei equipment as of the end of 2020 and remove all Huawei equipment by the end of 2027.
Under the latest version of the Telecommunications Security Bill, which is making its way through parliament, mobile carriers are provided with a timetable for halting purchases from Huawei and removing equipment already in the network.
“Today I am setting out a clear path for the complete removal of high risk vendors from our 5G networks. This will be done through new and unprecedented powers to identify and ban telecoms equipment which poses a threat to our national security,” said Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden.
“We are also publishing a new strategy to make sure we are never again dependent on a handful of telecoms vendors for the smooth and secure running of our networks.”
In related news, the U.K. Government and Japanese company NEC Corporation announced the launch of the NEC “NeutrORAN” project, which will showcase the latest innovations in the Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN) space.
The project will be used to test and demonstrate a multiple operator, neutral host solution using an Open RAN ecosystem. NEC said it expects the planned architecture to be scalable and to have potential on a global scale beyond the U.K.
This project will see 5G Open RAN live within the UK in 2021, testing solutions to deploy 5G networks across the country.
The NeutrORAN will be one of the first solutions delivered by the Center of Excellence recently announced by the Japanese firm.
Earlier this month, NEC announced the establishment of its Global Open RAN Center of Excellence (CoE) in the U.K. to accelerate the global adoption of Open RAN technology.
NEC also said that the new facility has the aim of further strengthening the company’s structure for accelerating the global deployment of 5G.
This new CoE is responsible for business and solution development, product development support, project execution and technical support for NEC’s global Open RAN business.
The new center will help communication service providers (CSP) introduce Open RAN worldwide through its knowledge of wireless technology and NFV businesses, as well as NEC’s experience in supporting large scale Open RAN commercial deployment in Japan, the company said, adding that the center will also form the backbone of NEC’s global project delivery capability.
The U.K Government also announced plans to finance the SmartRAN Open Network Innovation Center (SONIC) in partnership with telecommunications regulator Ofcom and Digital Catapult. The government said that this new center will be an industry-facing testing facility to foster Open RAN in the U.K. helping to develop a supply chain with multiple suppliers at every stage,” the government said.
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