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BT Pulls Huawei Kit From EE's 4G Network

07 December 2018

LONDON-Britain's BT Group said on December 5 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.

Telecom giant Huawei Technologies suffered a new setback in Britain as its equipment got frozen out for use in leading carrier BT Group PLC's core networks, even as the controversial company won a smaller victory with reaffirmation for its products from Portugal.

BT acquired telecoms firm EE in 2016 and will use its existing network to launch a national 5G rollout.

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.

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

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BT Group's capital expenditure was £1.833 billion in H1 fiscal 2018-19 vs £1.693 billion in H1 2017-18 including network investment of £988 million.

"We're applying these same principles to our current RFP (Request for Proposal) for 5G core infrastructure", the spokesperson explained.

However, Huawei has previously stated that the Chinese government can not legally compel telecoms firms to install backdoors or listening devices in other nations.

Australia had also banned the Chinese company from supplying 5G equipment earlier this year, citing security risks. The company's role in 5G rollout in New Zealand is now under review. Huawei's competitors surely aren't too bothered by the storyline, but are careful to keep their own hands clean given their interest in serving the Chinese market. Huawei will still be enabled on its 5G Radio Access Network.

New Zealand and Australia blocked the use of Huawei's 5G technology due to national security concerns.

The FT said BT in 2005 became one of the first companies outside China to sign a landmark supply agreement with Huawei.

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.

Cybersecurity expert and IT veteran David Kay said the news gives him no reason to doubt the "skills and integrity" of Huawei professionals and has urged BT to release a thorough report justifying its decision.

BT Pulls Huawei Kit From EE's 4G Network