BT casts doubt on the removal of Huawei hardware

BT logo displayed on a phone

BT has said that it will be impossible to remove Huawei hardware from the UK’s mobile networks before 2030. The firm’s chief made the claim just days after BT and Vodafone told MPs that the removal of Huawei from the networks would be a blow to the infrastructure and would result in mobile blackouts while elements were replaced.

During the discussion with MPs, Vodafone’s representative asked for a five-year transition from Huawei equipment. After these remarks were made, the BT rep interjected saying that seven years were preferable. Speaking to the BBC, BT chief executive Philip Jansen further extended the deadline, saying:

“If you were to try and not have Huawei at all [in 5G] ideally we'd want seven years and we could probably do it in five. If you wanted to have no Huawei in the whole of the telecoms infrastructure across the whole of the UK, I think that's impossible to do in under 10 years.”

BT owns and operates the EE network to provide for its customers, this network relies on Huawei equipment across 2G, 4G, and 5G; removing Huawei, therefore, would have a tremendous impact for customers if an alternative was not first found.

Due to the significant amount of money Huawei ploughs into R&D, the Chinese firm is able to make competitive hardware while keeping costs low. According to some, though, Huawei poses a security risk so the government is weighing up the pros and cons of allowing them inside networks.

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