The government has extended the deadline for telecom giants to boot Huawei from its 5G network after concerns that it could cause major disruption.
The timeframe for the likes of BT’s Openreach and Vodafone to remove Huawei equipment and services in core networks was moved 11 months from January 2023 to December.
Telecoms and broadband firms could face fines of 10 per cent of turnover or £100,000 a day for failing to comply with security protocols.
The government confirmed that it had sent legal notices formalising the timetable to 35 mobile operators and networks.
The move comes just months after BT lodged a request with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to have the deadline extended.
The telecom giant said the removal of equipment from its core network where personal data is processed would cost £500m.
The core network is the central conduit designed to transfer network traffic at high speeds — meaning that replacing is no easy feat.
In 2020, Boris Johnson’s government decided to ban Huawei and other vendors it deemed a high security risk, citing advice from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).
Critics have deemed this a more politically motivated move, suggesting it was increasing pressure from the United States to boot the Chinese tech firm out.
Providers will need to find an alternative supplier, such as Nokia or Ericsson, to support the backbone of any 5G push.
A BT spokesperson said: “The publication of the final Designated Vendor Direction provides important clarity on the process and timescales for the removal of Huawei equipment from UK telecoms networks.”