British telecommunications giant BT has picked Ericsson for core 4G and 5G service contracts, selecting the Swedish firm over Chinese rival Huawei. It follows the January decision by Downing Street to remove Huawei’s technology from its core network, as tensions over the company’s security increase.
BT’s decision today employs Ericsson to deploy a “cloud native, container-based, mobile packet core” for 4G and 5G, which will deploy on BT’s Network Cloud. In a statement, BT chief technology and information officer Howard Watson said his colleagues chose Ericsson “on the basis of both lab performance and future roadmap.
“We are looking forward to working together as we build out our converged 4G and 5G core network across the UK,” Watson added.
BT look set to remove Huawei’s technology from its core network by 2023, a move it says will cost over $500 million. It follows a decision by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in January that Huawei—a “high risk vendor”—would be limited to a 35% presence in the UK’s radio access network (RAN).
“We want world-class connectivity as soon as possible but this must not be at the expense of our national security,” said digital secretary Baroness Morgan. “High risk vendors never have been and never will be in our most sensitive networks.”
Britain’s decision to allow Huawei into its RAN angered US politicians, many of whom have taken a firm stance on the Chinese provider and its ties to the country’s communist party. Last May the White House added Huawei to its “Entity List,” effectively blackballing it for US corporations. President Donald Trump has called Huawei “very dangerous.”