Pressure ramped on UK authorities from all sides ahead of an imminent decision on a potential ban on Huawei equipment in operator 5G networks, with media reports claiming the vendor is trying to secure a last-ditch deal as opponents demand a tight deadline for operators to rip-out kit.

Multiple reports state the UK’s national security council is set to meet tomorrow (14 July) to discuss the findings of a review into the impact of US sanctions on equipment provided by Huawei to operators. Bloomberg noted a decision is expected to be announced in parliament shortly afterwards.

A ban would be a significant u-turn from the UK government after clearing providers to use Huawei in 5G RAN equipment, subject to limits, in January. Since then some UK politicians and US authorities have tried to force a reversal and called for the ripping out of Huawei equipment already in use.

The Telegraph reported operators would likely be given until 2025 to remove the vendor’s kit, while Bloomberg cited comments from politicians demanding a ban on purchasing new equipment from late 2021 with a rip-out deadline of between 2023 and 2025.

Huawei has denied its equipment is a security risk and underlined its credentials in the UK several times.

Ahead of the meeting tomorrow, The Times reported the vendor was aiming to strike a last-minute deal to have any ban pushed back until after the next parliamentary election in 2025.

Meanwhile, during an interview with the BBC News, BT CEO Philip Jansen reiterated calls made by his CTIO Howard Watson and Vodafone UK’s head of networks Andrea Dona to a parliamentary committee last week.

They urged the setting realistic timescales for any order to remove Huawei equipment from the UK’s networks, citing five years to seven years as a minimum timescale to avoid service disruption.