In a major about turn, the British government has decided to halt the country's mobile carriers from purchasing new 5G equipment from Chinese tech giant Huawei.
It will also remove all of Huawei's 5G kits from the country's network by 2027.
"This is why we have concluded that it is necessary and indeed prudent to commit to a timetable for the removal of Huawei equipment from our 5G network by 2027. Let me be clear, this requirement will be set out in law by the Telecom Security Bill. By the time of the next election, we will have implemented in law an irreversible path for the complete removal of Huawei equipment from our 5G networks."
The decision was reached on Tuesday during a National Security Council meeting chaired by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Describing the move as necessary for long-term national security and the UK's economy, Britain's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary explained it's too dangerous to be reliant on just a handful of vendors.
"Put simply, countries around the world, not just in the United Kingdom, have become dangerously reliant on too few vendors. We have already set out a clear and ambitious diversification strategy. That strategy will include wide-ranging action in the short, medium and long term, with the aim of driving competition and innovation to grow the market and deliver greater resilience across all of our networks."
The decision sparked an immediate backlash from Huawei, which explained the move is bad news for anyone in the UK with a smartphone.
It added it will move the country into the digital slow lane, push up bills and deepen the digital divide.
The UK's ban comes amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and China.
There has also been sustained pressure from Washington, which warned it will halt the sharing of intelligence with countries that use Huawei's equipment.
The U.S. and UK are members of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network, which also includes Australia.
Kim Hyo-sun, Arirang News.