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British telco to strip China's Huawei from core networks, limit 5G access

06 December 2018

Huawei, the world's biggest network equipment maker ahead of Ericsson and Nokia, has said Beijing has no influence over its operations. Australia earlier this year, and New Zealand more recently, have rejected Huawei's bid to suply 5G network infrastructure hardware, stating national security as the main reason.

The Wall Street Journal in November reported that the USA government was trying to persuade wireless and internet providers in allied countries to avoid telecommunications equipment from Huawei.

The UK's incumbent telco chalked up any inclusion of Huawei kit at the core to its purchase of EE two years ago, telling The Reg: "In 2016, following the acquisition of EE, we 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 information was cited by Reuters after initially being published by the Financial Times.

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BT, which first signed up to work with Huawei in 2005, was one of the first companies outside of China to use its network equipment. "Huawei remains an important equipment provider outside the core network, and a valued innovation partner", BT said in a statement.

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.

It is believed that U.S. operators will not be buying 5G equipment from Huawei.

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Huawei began working with EE - the largest mobile network operator in the United Kingdom, in 2012, according to the Chinese company, which added that it has provided EE with a series of 3G and 4G network solutions, including core network equipment, as part of the collaboration. Huawei has said that the concerns were unwarranted.

"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 very definite position", he said in a rare public address.

Australia has followed the USA in banning Huawei's equipment from the country's 5G roll-out.

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"We have never had a cyber security-related incident. Huawei has a robust cybersecurity assurance system and a proven track record", it said in the statement.

British telco to strip China's Huawei from core networks, limit 5G access