BT calls for more time to remove Huawei kit from core network

30 Jun 2022

BT Group is reported to have asked the UK government for more time to remove Huawei equipment from its core network, according to Bloomberg. Speaking in an interview with the news outlet, chief technology officer Howard Watson placed blame on COVID-19 lockdowns for slowing the transition to new equipment, with the executive saying of the request for more time: ‘At the end of the day, not interrupting service for customers is the critical requirement here.’

Previously, in July 2020 the government announced that operators would be required to remove Huawei equipment from their network cores by 28 January 2023, or face fines of up to GBP100,000 (USD122,000) per day. For its part, BT Group is reported to be moving the core of its mobile subsidiary EE’s network from Huawei to Sweden’s Ericsson, with work on migrating customers having already gotten underway, according to Watson. Meanwhile, the telco reportedly remains confident of achieving a longer-term target of removing all Huawei 5G equipment from its network, with a statement from BT saying: ‘We continue to liaise with DCMS and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to ensure our programme 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.’

With BT Group’s request for more time having been submitted to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), a spokesperson for that government body was cited as saying of the matter: ‘We’re considering all the responses received and will publish our decision in due course.’