BT reportedly removing Huawei gear from mobile networks
BT is stripping Huawei equipment from its existing 3G and 4G mobile network, according to reports on Wednesday, with the company saying it was not going to use equipment from the Chinese manufacturer in its next-generation 5G network.
The FTSE 100 telecoms operator said Huawei gear was not a part of its fixed-line and fibre networks, according to the Reuters report, with the removal being from the mobile networks it acquired through EE.
BT reportedly said the the removal would bring the EE network infrastructure in line with policies across the rest of the group.
A spokesman reportedly said that in 2016, after the acquisition of EE, the group “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”.
The company would apply the same policies to its new networks, with Huawei not included in its vendor selection process for the 5G core build.
However, BT was careful not to completely write off the Chinese firm, which is the world’s second-largest smartphone manufacturer behind Samsung, saying Huawei remained an “important equipment provider” outside of its core network, as well as a “valued innovation partner”.
The information emerged after a letter was circulated to telecom firms warning them of being careful when selecting vendors for their 5G networks.
Last month, the head of digital policy at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport told network operators that a review launched in July could lead to changes in procurement rules, in an apparent bid to caution companies from using Huawei equipment.
Huawei has been in the spotlight recently, with US federal employees banned from using devices made by the company, and it being excluded from installing its equipment into Australian networks.
It also suffered a blow in New Zealand, when that country’s largest telecom operator Spark had its 5G rollout plan rejected by intelligence officials on the basis that it was too reliant on Huawei gear.