BT is reportedly planning to remove Huawei’s equipment from its core 4G network within two years as it looks to bring mobile unit EE in line with internal policy, according to the Financial Times. BT was one of the first companies outside of China to use Huawei equipment – inking a deal with the vendor back in 2005 – and a year later it pledged to keep the latter’s equipment out of its core network. With Huawei’s enhanced packet core technology still being used in the core EE network, BT has now confirmed it is taking the equipment out of ‘the core of [its] 3G and 4G networks as part of [its] network architecture principles in place since 2006’. According to the report, BT has already stripped out most of the oldest equipment, inherited from T-Mobile UK’s 3G network, since it acquired EE. Looking ahead, it aims to replace all Huawei equipment in its core 4G network within 18 to 24 months.
Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that BT has excluded Huawei from bidding for contracts to supply equipment for use in its core 5G network, though it will reportedly continue to use the vendor’s equipment in benign parts of the network, such as masts. With EE having already launched 5G trials in London using Huawei equipment, parent company BT has argued that the vendor’s kit is more advanced than that developed by Nokia and Ericsson, and said the Chinese company remained an ‘important equipment provider and a valued innovation partner’.