BT Strips Huawei from 3G and 4G Core

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BT and Huawei have sought to play down speculation that the former is stripping the Chinese telecoms giant’s equipment from its networks over security concerns.

The UK telco group said it is removing Huawei infrastructure from its core 3G and 4G networks to meet existing policy, which will also preclude the Shenzhen-headquartered firm from its core 5G network.

“In 2016, following the acquisition of EE, we began a process to remove Huawei equipment from the core of our 3G and 4G mobile networks, as part of network architecture principles in place since 2006,” BT said.

“We’re applying these same principles to our current RFP for 5G core infrastructure. As a result, Huawei have not been included in vendor selection for our 5G core. Huawei remains an important equipment provider outside the core network and a valued innovation partner.”

The firm will still use Huawei’s antennas and other products not deemed to be in the “core,” it has been reported.

However, the pressure is building on UK stakeholders to prevent Chinese and other potentially hostile foreign suppliers from having anything to do with 5G.

The US, Australian and New Zealand governments have all moved to block Huawei from supplying their 5G networks.

Plus, in July, the Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre (HCSEC), overseen by GCHQ, highlighted significant shortcomings in the firm’s processes that “exposed new risks in UK telecoms networks.”

It concluded that HCSEC has “only limited assurance” that Huawei equipment poses no threat to national security.

The news comes as MI6 boss Alex Younger made a rare appearance in public, using a speech at his alma mater St Andrews University to question whether the UK should be using Chinese kit in critical infrastructure.

“We need to decide the extent to which we are going to be comfortable with Chinese ownership of these technologies and these platforms in an environment where some of our allies have taken a quite definite position,” he reportedly said.

Last month, the government sent a letter to 5G network providers, reminding them that any suppliers would need to be heavily vetted for security.

In related news, Huawei CFO, Meng Wanzhou, daughter of founder Ren Zhengfei, has been arrested in Canada and faces extradition to the US. It is suspected the charges may be connected to possible violations of sanctions against Iran.

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