Published: Fri, December 07, 2018
Electronics | By Shannon Stone

BT bans Huawei 5G kit from network

BT bans Huawei 5G kit from network

The UK telecoms firm BT on Wednesday was revealed to be the latest firm prepared to act on those concerns with a plan, first reported in the Financial Times, to bar Huawei 5G equipment from its core network.

BT likewise stressed that "Huawei remains an important equipment provider outside the core network, and a valued innovation partner".

BT claimed it began stripping Huawei's products from the core of its existing 3G and 4G mobile operations in 2016 after the acquisition of mobile operator EE.

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

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

Last week, the New Zealand government excluded Huawei as a technology vendor for its 5G network, citing a "significant network security risk".

"This is a normal and expected activity, which we understand and fully support", it said in a statement. Huawei's "enhanced packet core" technology is still at the core of EE's 4G network today.

Three and Huawei have been working on pre-commercial tests this year, and said they will continue testing the service ahead of the public launch in dense urban areas and train stations in 2019.

The news comes in the wake of the head of MI6, Alex Younger, questioning whether Chinese firms such as Huawei should be involved in United Kingdom communications infrastructure.

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".

Following a review, former defence secretary Malcolm Rifkind suggested that the cyber security experts should not be appointed by Huawei, and recommended that GCHQ play a role.

Beijing could "force Chinese suppliers or manufacturers to modify products to perform below expectations or fail, facilitate state or corporate espionage, or otherwise compromise the confidentiality, integrity, or availability", Younger said.

The HCSEC was launched in November 2010 to help mitigate any potential risks in using Huawei technology in the UK's critical national infrastructure.

Equipment from the Chinese firm was brought into BT when it bought EE back in 2016, according to the FT.

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