BT (British Telecom) has warned that it may fight to meet the deadline for removing Huawei devices from its networks – until 2023. The UK ordered the move in January 2020 after pressure from the US.
At the time, the British government decided to reduce Huawei’s share of mobile networks to just 35%. BT said the process of removing and replacing the Chinese company’s equipment in its networks would take several years and would cost about £ 500m.
Later that year, however, the UK government decided to ban Huawei even more broadly, ordering telecommunications companies to stop buying 5G equipment from Chinese suppliers, as a way to reach 35% by 28 January 2023. Share.
The order requires all Huawei 5G equipment to be removed from UK networks by 2027.
At the time, the UK telecom companies widely supported the announced deadline, fearing that the government would impose a very rapid, therefore impractical and costly change.
However, during those three years of elimination (2020 – 2023) a lot of effort will be required to ensure that UK telecommunications do not fall short of the standard. The government has said companies in the sector could be fined up to 100,000 a day for failing to comply.
By the end of 2020, BT had already selected Nokia and Ericsson to fill the void left by the 5G format that Huawei was leaving, and by May 2021 the operator of 12,000 locations in the UK had already begun to eliminate Huawei devices. .
But the rip-and-replace process seems to be taking longer than expected, and BT indicates it wants to extend the January 2023 deadline to remove Hawaii devices from its core network.
BT says there has been a delay in disposing of the equipment since 2020 due to “the impact of Govt on the project”. customers.
However, the operator is still optimistic that it will be able to remove all Huawei devices by the 2027 deadline.
The Department of Digital, Cultural, Media and Sports (DCMS) has not yet commented on whether to extend the deadline or whether such an opportunity exists.
Earlier this year, the government gave telecommunications companies an additional six months (until July 2023) to meet 35% of Huawei equipment’s non-core network range. BT expects that DCMS will equally tolerate orders for core network equipment.
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