UK's BT Group cuts Huawei out of wireless networks

Yolanda Curtis
December 6, 2018

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.

BT will remove Huawei hardware from its core 4G network within the next two years amid concerns over China's influence on national telecoms infrastructure.

But UK carrier EE used Huawei gear in the core network of its 3G and 4G networks before it was acquired by BT for £12.5 billion ($15.9 billion or AU$21.9 billion) in 2016.

"We're applying these same principles to our current request for proposal for 5G core infrastructure". As a result, Huawei has not been included in vendor selection for our 5G core.

Wall Street Journal in November reported that the USA government will be asking wireless and internet providers in friendly countries to avoid telecommunications equipment from Huawei.

BT is removing kit made by Chinese firm Huawei from its network amid fears of spying. However, BT added that "Huawei remains an important equipment provider outside the core network and a valued innovation partner".

Britain's telecoms have avoided using Huawei equipment in their network cores, which contain customers' personal data.

In their own statement, the company said: "Huawei has been working with BT for nearly 15 years".

The British company also confirmed it is removing Huawei's hardware from use in its existing 3G and 4G networks, first revealed by theFinancial Times this morning.

BT's announcement follows United Kingdom foreign intelligence services chief saying earlier this week that using Chinese technology for 5G was something the nation needed to discuss.

But British and USA intelligence agencies have alleged that Huawei is linked to China's government, and that its equipment could contain "backdoors" which could be used to snoop on or disrupt communications.

The report warned the state could "force Chinese suppliers or manufacturers to modify products to perform below expectations or fail, facilitate state or corporate espionage, or otherwise compromise the confidentiality, integrity, or availability" of devices and networks that use them. BT reports offering various services in around 180 countries.

It changed its name and was privatised between 1991 and 1993.

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