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BT asks for more time to remove Huawei equipment from its core network

The ban originally stipulated that telecoms operators in the UK had until January 28, 2023 to remove all Huawei equipment from the most sensitive core networks

U.K. carrier BT has requested an extension to the U.K. government’s deadline for removing Huawei equipment from its core network, local press reported.

In 2020, the U.K. government banned the use of Huawei components in local operators’ networks, calling the Chinese company a high-risk vendor. Huawei said its equipment did not pose any risk for national security.

The ban stipulated that telecoms operators in the U.K. had until January 28, 2023 to remove all Huawei equipment from their core networks and reduce its use in non-core parts of the network to 35%.

In February of this year, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) decided to postpone the access network requirement by six months, until the end of July 2023, due to difficulties associated with the pandemic. BT has filed a request with DCMS for a further extension for the core network element, arguing that the same rationale should apply to both the core and RAN.

“We are continuing to work towards the January 2023 deadline for that work to happen in our core, but have requested a necessary, short extension, to reflect significant Covid-driven impacts to the program over the past two years,” BT said.

The company said it has faced restrictions placed on access to sites, limited resource availability and delayed hardware testing and deployment during the course of the past two years.

A further ban, on the use of Huawei equipment in the introduction of U.K.’s 5G networks, must be complied with by 2027.

“We continue to liaise with DCMS and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to ensure our program can be completed as quickly and safely as possible, and remain confident that the final 2027 deadline for delivering new equipment throughout the 5G network is achievable,” said BT.

In May of 2020, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the U.S. Department of Commerce had announced plans to restrict Huawei’s ability to use U.S. chipmaking equipment and software to design and manufacture its semiconductors abroad. Huawei was added to the Entity List in May 2019, after the Department of Commerce concluded that the vendor was engaged in activities that were contrary to U.S. national security or foreign policy interests.

Canada also decided to ban the use of equipment by Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE due to security concerns.

The government noted that this decision follows a thorough review by the country’s independent security agencies and in consultation with allies.

Canadian operators will be required to remove their 5G gear by June, 2024, while companies using 4G equipment provided by these two Chinese vendors must remove it by the end of 2027.

ABOUT AUTHOR

Juan Pedro Tomás
Juan Pedro Tomás
Juan Pedro covers Global Carriers and Global Enterprise IoT. Prior to RCR, Juan Pedro worked for Business News Americas, covering telecoms and IT news in the Latin American markets. He also worked for Telecompaper as their Regional Editor for Latin America and Asia/Pacific. Juan Pedro has also contributed to Latin Trade magazine as the publication's correspondent in Argentina and with political risk consultancy firm Exclusive Analysis, writing reports and providing political and economic information from certain Latin American markets. He has a degree in International Relations and a master in Journalism and is married with two kids.

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