Britain’s BT Group (BT.L) said on Wednesday it was removing Huawei Technologies’ equipment from the core of its existing 3G and 4G mobile operations and would not use the Chinese company in central parts of the next network.
New Zealand and Australia have stopped telecom operators using Huawei’s equipment in new 5G networks because they are concerned about possible Chinese government involvement in their communications infrastructure.
Huawei, the world’s biggest network equipment maker ahead of Ericsson (ERICb.ST) and Nokia (NOKIA.HE), has said Beijing has no influence over its operations.
BT said Huawei’s equipment had not been used in the core of its fixed-line network, and it was removing it from the core of the mobile networks it acquired when it bought operator EE.
“In 2016, following the acquisition of EE, we began a process to remove Huawei equipment from the core of our 3G and 4G networks, as part of network architecture principles in place since 2006,” a BT spokesman said.
He said the company would apply the same principles to its next-generation mobile networks.
“As a result, Huawei have not been included in vendor selection for our 5G core,” he said.
The chief of Britain’s foreign intelligence services said this week that 5G reliance on Chinese technology was something Britain needed to discuss.
Huawei has been in Britain for more than 17 years, with its equipment checked and monitored by a special company laboratory overseen by government and intelligence operators.
Huawei said it had been working with BT for almost 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.
“This is a normal and expected activity, which we understand and fully support,” it said in a statement.
“We have never had a cyber security-related incident,” it said. “Huawei has a robust cyber security assurance system and a proven track record.” – Reuters