The UK government unveiled a series of projects designed to push use of open RAN and increase operator supply options, as it slapped a deadline of end-September 2021 for the last installations of Huawei 5G equipment.
Moves are part of ongoing efforts to increase mobile operators’ vendor choices in the wake of a decision to ban Huawei from 5G networks made in July under pressure from the US.
The UK’s Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport today (30 November) simultaneously released an updated version of the government’s Telecoms Security Bill, and its 5G Supply Chain Diversification Strategy.
Under the latest version of the bill, which is making its way through parliament, operators are provided with a timetable for halting purchases from Huawei and removing equipment already in the network.
Along with the previously announced deadline of end-2020 for buying new Huawei 5G kit and 2027 for full removal, authorities have added a date of end-September 2021 for final installations.
The UK plan to diversify operator supply chains includes funding commitments for an open RAN trial with NEC, a general telecommunications innovation centre and backing a specific SmartRAN R&D facility.
Its NEC NeutrORAN project will be set-up in Wales with the target of supporting live 5G based-on open RAN in the UK in 2021.
A separate SmartRAN Open Network Innovation Centre will be opened, backed by regulator Ofcom and its Digital Catapult project, with a National Telecoms Lab created for R&D from operators, academics and suppliers.
UK digital secretary Oliver Dowden said the moves towards diversifying the mobile supply chain would mean “we are never again dependent on a handful of telecoms vendors for the smooth and secure running of our networks”.
“Our plans will spark a wave of innovation in the design of our future mobile networks.”
Publication of its latest strategy comes a week after UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced £250 million in funding dedicated to 5G supply chain diversification.
Earlier this year, the government assembled a taskforce of industry experts to investigate potential measures it could take to encourage new players.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back