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

Alfred Osborne
December 6, 2018

BT and Huawei said today that reports the Chinese kit-maker's products would not be used on EE's 3G and 4G core mobile ops - and that it was out of the running for any bids for the 5G core - should surprise no one.

Huawei said it had been working with BT for nearly 15 years, and since the beginning of its partnership, BT had been operating on a principle of different vendors for different layers of its network.

The British firm had initially promised to keep the Chinese equipment out of its core network in light of security issues, but when BT bought EE in 2016 for £12.5 billion ($15.9 billion) it started using Huawei gear for new 3G and 4G networks.

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.

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.

Huawei will still be enabled on its 5G Radio Access Network.

Fellow UK mobile carrier Three last month also announced that it is working with Huawei on a 5G home broadband demo in London.

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Britain's BT Group Plc will remove Huawei Technologies Co's equipment from its core 4G network within two years, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday.

5G networks are coming, but Huawei is getting shut out several markets. Huawei has said that the concerns were unwarranted.

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.

"Huawei have been a trusted partner for Altice for many years, and we look forward to explore this revolutional new technology together for the benefit of our consumer and enterprise customers, as well as a way to promote new business models and services", said Altice Portugal's chief executive Alexandre Fonseca.

The revelations follow security concerns which were ramped up by a recent report by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, which alleged Huawei and other Chinese 5G equipment manufacturers could be vulnerable to state influence from Beijing.

"We have never had a cyber security-related incident".

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