The UK government is banning its mobile operators from buying any Huawei 5G equipment after December 31, 2020. All Huawei equipment and hardware are planned to be removed from the country by 2027 at an expected cost of £2 billion.

The decision follows long after the US imposed sanctions on the Chinese firm, claiming that it poses a national security threat, which is something that Huawei has continually denied. It is estimated that this decision will slow down the rollout of 5G by at least a year in the country.

The decision is a complete U-turn after the government’s previous announcement in January that allowed Huawei to use its 5G infrastructure in the country with certain limitations. According to the initial plan, the Chinese telecom giant would be limited to a 35% market share and its 5G equipment would not be allowed in core parts of the network or geographically sensitive locations.

Now, however, all of Huawei’s 5G hardware is to be removed from the country within 7 years.

Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden told the House of Commons about the decision saying:

This has not been an easy decision, but it is the right one for the UK telecoms networks, for our national security and our economy, both now and indeed in the long run.

Huawei has said that the decision is disappointing and the company is confident that the US sanctions will not affect the security of products provided by Huawei. The Chinese firm claims that the decision was led by pressure from the US trade policy rather than security concerns and it is urging the government to reconsider the move.