BT Set to Remove and Replace Huawei from its Mobile Network

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In January, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (“DCMS”) proposed restrictions on the use of Huawei equipment in 5G and FTTP networks.

They have announced a revised set of proposals to remove Huawei equipment from 5G communication networks in the UK by the end of 2027, and consult on the future use of Huawei in FTTP networks.

In light of this, BT Group plc (“BT”) has announced its initial assessment of the financial impact of these revised proposals.

BT currently estimates that full compliance with these revised proposals would require additional activity, both in removing and replacing Huawei equipment from BT’s existing mobile network, and in excluding Huawei from the 5G network that BT continues to build.

In a statement, BT has confirmed that, “now we have clarity on the timing, it is estimated that these costs can be absorbed within BT’s initial estimated implementation cost of £500m, as announced by BT on 30 January 2020 in order to comply with the previous proposal by the National Cyber Security Centre.

We will continue to work with relevant authorities as they consult on the future procurement strategy for fixed networks.”

Commenting on today’s announcement, Philip Jansen, Chief Executive, BT, said, “The security of our networks is an absolute priority for BT. Clearly this decision has logistical and cost implications for communications providers in the UK market – however, we believe the timescales outlined will allow us to make these changes without impacting on the coverage or resilience of our existing networks. It will also allow us to continue to rollout our 5G and full fibre networks without a significant impact on the timescales we’ve previously announced. Whilst we have provided our initial view on the estimated impact today, we will continue to evaluate the details of this decision thoroughly.”