Britain's largest telco removes Huawei equipment from 4G network

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

BT first began sourcing kit from Huawei in 2003, since which the Chinese kit-maker has been an equipment supplier for access network kit both on the incumbent telco's fixed and mobile networks.

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.

Apparently there's an "internal policy to keep the Chinese company's equipment at the edge of telecoms infrastructure", claims the report, and BT's move is now in alignment with said policy. Despite Huawei being a major provider of network equipment, BT has stated that it will not be utilising the technology at the "core" of its service. Already governments in the US, New Zealand and Australia have blocked Huawei devices from deployment in 5G networks, and it looks like BT, prompted by MI6 concerns, has chose to follow suit.

Huawei equipment will also not be used in the upcoming 5G network, the company announced.

"Huawei remains an important equipment provider outside the core network, and a valued innovation partner".

"We're applying these same principles to our current request for proposal for 5G core infrastructure".

"Since the beginning of this partnership, BT has operated on a principle of different vendors for different network layers".

Huawei is a world leader in equipment used to build phone networks, and was heavily involved in building the 4G networks in Britain.

"Working together, we have already completed a number of successful 5G trials across different sites in London, and we will continue to work with BT in the 5G era", a company spokesperson wrote in an emailed statement. Thus it would seem unrelated to the security concerns about Huawei hardware.

News of BT's shafting of Huawei comes just weeks after the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. government is pressuring foreign allies to ditch networking from Huawei.

It has also emerged that Huawei's global chief financial officer was arrested between flights at Vancouver airport in Canada and faces extradition to the United States over unspecified charges.

In 2010, the British government, Huawei and telecom operators, including BT, established the Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre (HCSEC) Oversight Board, based in Banbury.

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