After Australia and New Zealand, Chinese tech company Huawei would also not be allowed to participate in bids for offering technology for the core 5G network that is currently being developed by U.K. telecoms company BT.
Any equipment that BT’s existing 3G and 4G networks belonging to the Chinese company would also be taken out. The regulators have however allowed Huawei to offer and supply some basic infrastructure support equipment such as phone mast antennas even though the company would be barred from taking part in the selection process for vendors for the core 5G network.
A national 5G rollout would be conducted by BT with the help of the existing network of telecoms firm EE which it had acquired in 2016. The advent of 5G networks would make accessing the internet through mobiles very fast and would be transformational for new age technologies such as self-driving cars and the internet of things.
The process of pulling out Huawei equipment the core of its 3G and 4G networks had bene initiated in 2016, confirmed a BT spokesperson in an email to the media. the ocmnay said that this was done as a “part of network architecture principles in place since 2006.”
“We’re applying these same principles to our current RFP (Request for Proposal) for 5G core infrastructure,” the spokesperson explained. “As a result, Huawei have not been included in vendor selection for our 5G core. Huawei remains an important equipment provider outside the core network, and a valued innovation partner.”
Currently, testing of 5G technology is being done by EE is in London’s Canary Wharf.
There was no immediate comment made by Huawei.
The decision was not a response to any security concerns, a BT spokesperson was quoted as saying in some media reports.
There were concerns lingering over the Chinese firms’ access to 5G networks, said the U.K.’s spy chief on Monday.
“We need to decide the extent to which we are going to be comfortable with Chinese ownership of these technologies,” MI6 chief Alex Younger told students at St Andrews University in Scotland.
The UK is among the so called Five Eyes security alliance – along with Canada, that have assured of not banning Chinese telecom companies from participating in construction of 5G networks.
Huawei was not allowed to participate in vendor selection process for the construction of 5G network in New Zealand because of “significant network security risk.”
Huawei had earlier in the year also been banned from the United States – along with another Chinese tech company ZTE, from participating in the construction of 5G internet networks in the country because of concerns that use of equipment from the companies could allow access to US’s national infrastructure to the Chinese government.
Such claims and concerns have already been refuted by both Huawei and ZTE.
(Adapted from CNBC.com)