BT Replacing Huawei in Mobile Network as Global Pressure Grows

(Bloomberg) -- BT Group Plc is removing Huawei Technologies Co Ltd. equipment from the core of the mobile network it acquired two years ago, bringing it into line with the British telecom company’s longstanding policy toward the Chinese vendor.

BT has worked with Huawei for more than a decade but avoided using it for the most central parts of its network. This wasn’t the case at wireless unit EE, which BT bought from Orange SA and Deutsche Telekom AG in 2016.

BT is replacing that unit’s core mobile technology “as part of network architecture principles in place since 2006,” said a company spokesman by email. The Financial Times first reported the policy on Wednesday.

The approach will also be applied in BT’s next-generation 5G mobile network, for which it is procuring equipment. “We’re applying these same principles to our current requests for proposals for 5G core infrastructure. As a result, Huawei have not been included in vendor selection for our 5G core,” the spokesman said.

Closely-held Huawei has become the focus of growing scrutiny in recent months after the U.S., Australia and New Zealand, whose national security services share intelligence, banned the Shenzhen-based company from providing 5G equipment. The head of Britain’s foreign intelligence agency MI6 said this week the U.K. must decide whether or not to follow suit.

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