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


The decoupling of China's telecoms giant Huawei from the wireless networks of English-speaking countries continued this week, as the UK's largest mobile provider made a decision to ban the use of the Chinese firm's equipment in its mobile operations.

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 revelations follow security concerns which were ramped up by a recent report by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, which alleged Huawei and other Chinese 5G equipment manufacturers could be vulnerable to state influence from Beijing. Later, New Zealand rejected Huawei's first 5G bid citing national security risk.

BT has also excluded Huawei, the # telecom network maker, from bidding for contracts to supply equipment for use in its core 5G network.

"We're applying these same principles to our current request for proposal for 5G core infrastructure".

Huawei is a world leader in equipment used to build phone networks, and was heavily involved in building the 4G networks in Britain.

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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.

It said the process was to bring the EE networks into line with the rest of its business rather than a change of policy.

"We have never had a cyber security-related incident", it said.

Fellow UK mobile carrier Three last month also announced that it is working with Huawei on a 5G home broadband demo in London.

Meng Wanzhou, one of the vice-chairs on the Chinese technology company's board and the daughter of the company founder Ren Zhengfei, was detained on December 1.

Chinese officials said Canada and the U.S. had yet to clarify their reason for the arrest but sources have suggest United States authorities had been monitoring Huawei, the world's largest telecoms equipment maker, since at least 2016 for allegedly shipping US-origin products to Iran and other countries in violation of USA export and sanctions laws.