BT asks for more time to replace Huawei kit in its core network

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(Image credit: BT)

BT has asked the UK government for more time to remove Huawei’s telecoms equipment from the most sensitive parts of its network infrastructure.

All mobile and broadband operators must remove any Huawei kit installed in the core layers of their infrastructure by 28 January, 2023 as part of a wider ban on the company’s technology due to alleged security concerns.

BT is migrating to a new 4G and 5G core powered by Ericsson’s cloud-based technologies. However, the company’s CTO Howard Watson told Bloomberg that supply chain issues caused by the pandemic had slowed down progress.

BT Huawei

Although BT is still working to the original deadline of early next year, it has formally requested an extension.

Huawei has had a presence in the UK market for two decades and was a supplier to all four major mobile operators. However, in July 2020 the government followed the US’s lead and banned operators from using the Chinese firm’s technologies.

The ban forms part of a wider package of sanctions on the Chinese firm.  In July 2021, the government reversed its previous policy and confirmed all mobile operators would be forbidden from purchasing new Huawei 5G radio gear from 2021 and must remove all equipment installed in their 5G networks by 2027.

It was a dramatic reversal of previous policy, and at the time, the government said it expected the ruling to delay 5G rollout by up to three years and add £2 billion of additional costs to operators.

No evidence has ever been produced to support the alleged security concerns and Huawei has persistently denied the allegations.

Via Bloomberg

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.