The CEO of telecoms group BT has reported it can take a decade to withdraw Huawei equipment from Britain ‘s network networks if the U.K. government follows the U.S. in dumping the telecom provider from its networks.
Philip Jansen told the BBC that the Chinese software company has been in the telecoms sector for two decades and has been a major provider to the industry.
That legacy will complicate things for British officials, who are reportedly reconsidering their decision to give Huawei a limited role supplying new high-speed network equipment to wireless carriers.
“It is all about timing and balance,” Jansen told the BBC. “So if you want to have no Huawei in the whole of the telecoms infrastructure across the whole of the U.K., I think that’s impossible to do in under 10 years.”
Dumping Huawei from the 5 G network could take as long as five to seven years. But the specifics are important.
“If we get in a situation where things need to go very fast, then we go into a situation where service for 24 million BT Group mobile customers is put into question – outages would be possible,” he said. “Secondly the security and safety in the short-term could be put at risk – this is really critical here. If you are not able to buy or transact with Huawei that would mean you wouldn’t be able to get software upgrades if you take it to its specificity.””
Britain also voted in January to allow Chinese telecom firm Huawei play a small position selling its high-speed network hardware to telecommunications networks, despite the U.S. government ‘s concerns that it might cut information cooperation if the business was not barred.
But the move set up a political confrontation with the Americans, who say that British sovereignty was at stake as the firm might allow the Chinese government access to data-an accusation Huawei disputes. Amid continued pressure to remove Huawei from communication networks entirely, the U.S. imposed new sanctions aimed at the firm’s supply chain, sparking the U.K. government review