BT will remove Huawei 4G equipment and excludes company from 5G bids

Huawei 5G New Zealand

BT to remove Huawei hardware from 4G network amid fears of Chinese spying

Chinese equipment giant Huawei is facing total exclusion from BT's mobile core networks, DWDM optical transport network and mobile edge compute deployment plans, a BT spokesperson has confirmed to Light Reading.

BT says Huawei hasn't been included in vendor selection for its 5G core, but "remains an important equipment provider".

It follows reports that the U.S. is trying to persuade foreign allies' wireless and internet providers to avoid the Chinese company's equipment, citing cybersecurity risks.

As part of an "extraordinary outreach campaign", United States officials have reportedly reached out to their government counterparts and telecom executives in European and Asian countries where Huawei equipment is already in use, warning them about the "national security risks" posed by the Chinese firm.

Earlier this year yet another government report warned that there was "only limited assurance" that Huawei technology would not pose a major risk to British critical infrastructure.

"Huawei has been working with BT for nearly 15 years", a Huawei spokesperson said.

Huawei - one of the world's largest mobile equipment and service providers - has always been under scrutiny over its allegedly close ties to China's state intelligence services.

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Younger said that Britain needs to innovate faster than countries like China and questioned the country's reliance on Chinese hardware, saying that Britain needed to decide how comfortable it is "with Chinese ownership of these technologies".

The Senate report by the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission found "significant departures" between USA and Chinese privacy policies and the rules on user data.

Concerns were raised at the time of the potential for Huawei infrastructure and the role it could play in cyber spying.

The UK telco group said it is removing Huawei infrastructure from its core 3G and 4G networks to meet existing policy, which will also preclude the Shenzhen-headquartered firm from its core 5G network.

Following a review, former defence secretary Malcolm Rifkind suggested that the cyber security experts should not be appointed by Huawei, and recommended that GCHQ play a role. This agreement remains in place today.

The FT said BT in 2005 became one of the first companies outside China to sign a landmark supply agreement with Huawei.

In a statement reproduced by The Guardian, BT said that it started replacing Huawei equipment after acquiring EE in 2016, following principles it set out as far back as 2006.

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