Britain’s BT to Strip China’s Huawei From Core Networks, Limit 5G Access

Britain’s BT to Strip China’s Huawei From Core Networks, Limit 5G Access

BT and Huawei were not immediately available for comments.

BT reportedly said in a statement that it is in the process of removing Huawei equipment from the key parts of its 3G and 4G networks to meet an existing internal policy not to have the Chinese firm at the centre of its infrastructure.

Why it's important: Governments are increasingly wary of Huawei's presence in their core national infrastructure, especially as they prepare for auctions for the next generation mobile network.

In a rare public speech on Sunday, the chief of the UK's foreign intelligence service MI6 also expressed his concerns over companies such as Huawei too. Even though British intelligence has requested the United Kingdom government finalise its stance for or against Huawei, BT has stated that the recent move is due to wanting a uniform approach to its systems since acquiring EE in 2015.

Furthermore, following these principles Huawei wasn't included in proposals for 5G core infrastructure.

Huawei - one of the world's largest mobile equipment and service providers - has always been under scrutiny over its allegedly close ties to China's state intelligence services.

Australia had also banned the Chinese company from supplying 5G equipment earlier this year, citing security risks.

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Huawei has repeatedly denied such accusations, pointing out that it works with security agencies around the world and that it sells products to more than 500 operators in 170 countries without issue.

Its frequent denials of close links to the ruling Communist Party have failed to convince to western intelligence officials, private companies and government officials amid continuing unease that its technology could allow unauthorised access to national networks by the Chinese government.

We reported last month that Washington was pressuring allied countries to drop Huawei over suspicions of its ties to the Chinese government, and it seems to have worked.

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.

While the process to exclude Huawei from parts of the BT network may have started in 2016, the move is clearly a setback for the Chinese vendor and will raise questions about the network strategies that other Tier 1 operators are pursuing.

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.

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