BT bars Huawei's 5G kit from core of network

BT to splash £550m integrating EE. Firm shrugs Cheap!
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BT to splash £550m integrating EE. Firm shrugs Cheap! READ MORE

BT stated that the move was more towards integrating EE in its other businesses rather than a change in policy; and the company has not used any Huawei equipment in the core of its fixed-line network since the acquisition of EE.

BT Group said that it will remove Huawei gear from the core of existing 3G and 4G networks and will not use it for coming 5G operations, according to a report from Reuters on Wednesday.

BT and Huawei have sought to play down speculation that the former is stripping the Chinese telecoms giant's equipment from its networks over security concerns.

On Monday, Alex Younger, the head of the UK Secret Intelligence Service - otherwise known as MI6 - said the government should question Huawei's involvement in Britain's 5G rollout.

Huawei-built phone masts and peripheral things like that can stay, but BT has a long-standing commitment in place to not use equipment from the supplier at the very core of its network, due to the unspecified potential security risks of handing an overseas company the keys to your whole network.

Some have questioned the timing of Younger's speech, in a week where the United States government encouraged its allies to shun Huawei hardware.

BT of course is the owner of mobile operator EE, and the carrier has for years used Huawei kit in the roll out of its fibre network in the UK.

He added: "We're applying these same principles to our current RFP for 5G core infrastructure".

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Australia and New Zealand also announced this year that they would not allow Huawei to be involved in building next generation 5G systems in their countries. "Huawei remains an important equipment provider outside the core network, and a valued innovation partner".

Huawei and EE had in November 2017 also demonstrated separate uplink-downlink (UL/DL) decoupling technology across a 5G-LTE network deployment in London.

Of course, Huawei maintain that it has no affiliation with the Chinese government, despite founder Ren Zhengfei notably providing his expertise for the Communist Party in 1978, working as an engineer in country's army.

Huawei said it will continue to collaborate with BT despite being left out of the 5G vendor process.

Both Beijing and the company deny the link.

The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Washington has asked its allies to cut ties with Huawei because its equipment posed strong cybersecurity risks.

While the Financial Times reported that BT aims to finish the overhaul within two years, BT's spokesperson told Light Reading that any such target would be "ambitious".

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