The Huawei logo is seen illustrated in this publicity picture. [Photo/Agencies]
Chinese technology company Huawei said Tuesday that the British government's move to ban the company's involvement in the country's 5G networks is a "disappointing decision" which "threatens to move Britain into the digital slow lane, push up bills and deepen the digital divide."
"This disappointing decision is bad news for anyone in the UK with a mobile phone," said Edward Brewster, a spokesperson for Huawei UK in a statement.
"Instead of 'levelling up', the government is levelling down and we urge them to reconsider. We remain confident that the new US restrictions would not have affected the resilience or security of the products we supply to the UK," Brewster said.
"Regrettably our future in the UK has become politicized, this is about US trade policy and not security.
"We will conduct a detailed review of what today's announcement means for our business here and will work with the UK government to explain how we can continue to contribute to a better connected Britain," said Brewster.
The British government announced on Tuesday that the UK will ban Chinese telecommunications company Huawei from supplying kit for 5G networks from the end of this year.
UK Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden said that the government has also committed to the removal of existing Huawei equipment from British networks by 2027.
"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," he said.
Because the US sanctions only affect future equipment, the government has been advised there is no security justification for removing 2G, 3G and 4G equipment supplied by Huawei.
China's ambassador to the UK said the decision was "disappointing and wrong".
"It has become questionable whether the UK can provide an open, fair and non-discriminatory business environment for companies from other countries," tweeted Liu Xiaoming.
The move comes as United States sanctions on Huawei, set for activation in September, threaten to disrupt the Chinese company's supply chain.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a meeting with his national security council on Tuesday morning, where he was advised that the sanctions would impact the reliability of Huawei as a 5G provider.
"The UK can no longer be confident it will be able to guarantee the security of future Huawei 5G equipment," Dowden said in Parliament.
"From the end of this year, telecoms operators must not buy any 5G equipment from Huawei."
Dowden conceded that the move would come at great cost to the UK's economy and would significantly hold up 5G development. He estimated that the ban will delay the roll out of 5G in Britain by two to three years at a cost of 2 billion pounds.
Shadow Digital Secretary Chi Onwurah said the government had created a "car crash for the digital economy" in its handling of Huawei.