BT to strip Huawei equipment from 4G network by 2021, won’t use it in 5G core

BT says Huawei hasn’t been included in vendor selection for its 5G core, but “remains an important equipment provider.”

John Phillips/UK Press via Techhnews

BT will pull Huawei equipment out of its core 4G network within two years to fit its own internal policy.

It follows reports that the US is trying to persuade foreign allies’ wireless and internet providers to avoid the Chinese company’s equipment, citing cybersecurity risks.

Britain’s telecoms have avoided using Huawei equipment in their network cores, which contain customers’ personal data. BT pledged to avoid doing so despite working closely with Huawei since 2005, the FT noted. 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.

BT started removing Huawei equipment from its network core after this acquisition, it said in an email to Techhnews.

“As a result, Huawei have not been included in vendor selection for our 5G core,” a spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “Huawei remains an important equipment provider outside the core network, and a valued innovation partner.”

Huawei highlighted its long relationship with BT and “proven track record” of cyber security.

“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.

Outside the US, Australia and New Zealand have opted to avoid using Huawei infrastructure in their 5G networks.

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