Britain's BT scrubs China's Huawei from 4G network

Judy Cobb
December 7, 2018

BT will continue using Huawei for "benign parts of the network" - equipment on masts and other outside parts - but not on the core network. Despite Huawei being a major provider of network equipment, BT has stated that it will not be utilising the technology at the "core" of its service.

BT will remove Huawei hardware from its core 4G network within the next two years amid concerns over China's influence on national telecoms infrastructure.

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 United Kingdom telecoms networks".

The barring of 5G services comes after Meng Wanzhou, Huawei's chief finance officer and deputy chair was arrested on undisclosed charges in Canada.

The main basis for these fears is a perception that Huawei is linked to the Chinese government and that the use of the company's equipment risks the possibility of backdoors that could be used for espionage.

The telecom giant Huawei's relations with the West have always been dogged by concerns that its remarkable economic success selling affordable consumer gadgetry has hidden a secret and darker mission as a hi-tech spying tool of Beijing. "As BT noted, 'Huawei remains an important equipment provider and a valued innovation partner'".

Younger said that Britain needs to innovate faster than countries like China and questioned the country's reliance on Chinese hardware, saying that Britain needed to decide how comfortable it is "with Chinese ownership of these technologies".

China furious over arrest of Huawei executive as spying row deepens
Lenovo has also come under attack in the United States for allegedly selling compromised computers that expose users to spying. But ZTE ( ZTCOF ), a Chinese tech firm that was temporarily crippled by a USA export ban earlier this year, slumped almost 9%.

"Since the beginning of this partnership, BT has operated on a principle of different vendors for different network layers".

Huawei told The Reg it had "been working with BT for nearly 15 years". This agreement remains in place today.

The Senate report by the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission found "significant departures" between U.S. and Chinese privacy policies and the rules on user data.

"This is a normal and expected activity, which we understand and fully support", the Chinese vendor added.

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.

But British and US intelligence agencies have alleged that Huawei is linked to China's government, and that its equipment could contain "backdoors" which could be used to snoop on or disrupt communications.

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