The chief executive of BT has warned it could take 10 years to remove Huawei equipment from UK wireless infrastructure if the UK government follows the US in stripping Huawei from its networks.
Philip Jansen told the BBC that the Chinese tech giant has been involved in the telecom infrastructure industry for 20 years and is an important supplier to the industry.
For British officials, the issue will complicate matters. British officials are reportedly reconsidering a decision to give Huawei a limited role in supplying wireless carriers with new high-speed network equipment.
“It’s all about timing and balance,” Jensen told the BBC. “So if you’re going to have the entire UK telecom infrastructure without Huawei, I don’t think it’s going to be possible in 10 years.”
Removing Huawei from 5G networks could take as long as five to seven years. But the details matter.
“If the Huawei equipment is removed quickly, there may be problems with the service of BT’s 24 million mobile subscribers, there may be service interruptions,” he said. “Secondly, in the short term, safety and security may be compromised, which is very The key. If you can’t buy or trade with Huawei, that means you can’t get software upgrades.”
In January, despite warnings from the U.S. government, Britain decided to give Huawei a limited supply of new high-speed network equipment to wireless carriers. But the U.S. government has warned that it will cut off intelligence sharing if Huawei is not banned.
The U.S. has imposed new sanctions on the company’s supply chain amid ongoing pressure to pull Huawei out of communications networks entirely, raising concerns in the U.K. government.