Broadband News

Huawei to be shown exit door from 5G and possibly telecoms networks allegedly

Given the potential delays and scope that removing Huawei 5G kit from existing 5G networks and sourcing replacement kit for hardware already on order the need various UK telecoms operators need to have an urgent statement on the record from the Government over exactly what is to happen with Huawei hardware in the UK.

As things stand today all the press coverage is based on a quote from a spokesperson originally quoted in The Guardian and Telegraph.

In January 2020 it was announced that use of Huawei 5G kit would be capped at 35% of the core network, but it appears now after protracted pressure from the United States of America that this is set to change to 0% of the core and its unclear what the fate of Huawei kit elsewhere will be e.g. 3G/4G/5G antenna, existing VDSL2 cabinets, Huawei FTTP ONT and Huawei headends in exchanges.

If there is a proven hack/leak of sensitive data from Huawei kit then one presumes that evidence would be produced or if of a sensitive nature statements would be made pointing this out and trusted parties allowed to verify this. For now though it looks more like a mixture of geo politics and fears of the unknown are driving policy.

In the 5G world the options if you ignore Huawei are basically Nokia and Ericsson and if the issue is really China spying how confident can anyone be that the supply chains of competitors are not compromised. If China is using its electronic exports to run spy networks it is unlikely they will be tied to a specific company and extra code or hardware to syphon off data will be in many places. 

Huawei has been under scrutiny for some time and one presumes the same scrutiny will apply to hardware and software from other suppliers.

The 5G networks if they were fully standalone are at a size where removal of Huawei is difficult but reasonably possible. The problem is that improvements in the fifth generation of mobile network also includes core network upgrades that will already have other mobile traffic using them.

Removing Huawei from the 1,200 or so handover exchanges i.e. replacing Huawei head ends with Nokia is again possible and as the amount of FTTP increases there are exchanges with Nokia headends already so for some there is potential for this to be a reconfiguration and rewiring exercise and ensuring wholesalers have connectivity on the Nokia headend. 

The issue around Huawei VDSL2 cabinets of which there is at least 66,000 on street corners around the UK is harder as the least downtime solution would be to stand and commision a new cabinet and then move the copper connections down. As this would need a new spot on the pavement that will be difficult in some areas and this a turn and lift off old cabinet and replace with a new one might be cheaper but could mean a days downtime. The more likely solution is to commit to no new Huawei VDSL2 cabinets, which given the small numbers being added each week is not difficult and then once the Salisbury WLR switch off and porting of an entire exchange to FTTP has worked successfuly other areas will follow and the Huawei cabinets removed. How long to remove all the Huawei cabinets is a big guess but given that the FTTP build has to be complete looking at around 2030.

Who will pay for all the work and new kit is unknown, hence the why we need official statements and budget support announced so if the nuclear option is what is desired that firms can start planning immediately.

Of course even if the UK was Huawei free as soon as anyone went to any country that had Huawei kit the worries would return. 

A final reason why on the record statements are needed is that in an information vacuum conspiracy theories thrive and a banning of Huawei 5G kit is no doubt going to be latched onto by some either for their own gain be that financial or just giggles.


So in other words, once again this country is taking orders from the U.S. sounds about right, who can say if Nokia and Ericsson is any more trustworthy?

Just a shame that we can not make our own equipment here in the U.K, with all these people going to uni to learn stuff like that, may as well use them for something instead of most of them ending up in some other job that has nothing to do with what they went to uni for.

  • zyborg47
  • 9 months ago

@thinkbroadband Look a squirrel......

  • @frankexchange1
  • comment via twitter
  • 9 months ago

Surely it's just a complete coincidence that the right-wing of the ruling party have recently formed the 'China Research Group'?

And that the US/UK trade negotiations are being held in secret so therefore we have no knowledge of what Mr Trump is requesting as terms for a deal?

'Global' Britain seems to be shrinking...

  • MaryHinge
  • 9 months ago

I find it highly suspicious that all the noise about Huawei arises out of a growing trade dispute between the USA and China, but more specifically from the Trump administration.

There was already a theme of isolationism / protectionism (e.g. America first) and from a historical perspective USA does have form on this (Reds under the Bed and other cold-war thinking).

Huawei and GCGQ have a long established (10 years) joint centre for tech / threat / risk evaluation ( and I we have equivalent scrutiny on alternative suppliers.

  • prlzx
  • 9 months ago

edit: … I +doubt+ we have equivalent scrutiny on alternative suppliers.

  • prlzx
  • 9 months ago

edit: *GCHQ* (arrgghh)

  • prlzx
  • 9 months ago

The precept is astonishing: Huawei (and its government) have somehow hit on a hardware/firmware stealth package which is undetectable by the world's experts! And no other company can even reverse-engineer it! After all, the US and other governments 'know' that no other 5G technology is 'infected', don't they? Nonsense.

Either it's a typical Trump business scam we're dealing with, writ large, or Western governments are colluding to tap all the world's communications and don't want the Chinese muscling in. And I don't believe THAT conspiracy exists....

  • davidinnotts
  • 9 months ago


GCHQ doesn't rate any other vendor as high risk. And that concern long predates the recent US/C trade spat.

  • Croft12
  • 9 months ago

From a networks perspective the issue is Huawei is by far the most advanced and easy to deal with company of the 3 named ones.

Ericsson is / was always an absolute pain with slideware that never turns into reality being their prime deliverable, software that does not do what they say and is often opaque.
As opposed to Huawei's here is a development stage hardware to test, factory kit will be available in x months and it is. What other bits would you like? (All delivered to the security test centre for experts to pull apart including all the code.) I would prefer to trust Huawei.

  • jumpmum
  • 9 months ago

Contd. Huawei's competence + perceived risk is much higher value than ETL's incompetence and lower perceived risk. Nokia were late to the FTTC/P party so harder to judge but slower moving so far, so not (yet) at the forefront of access or core technology.

  • jumpmum
  • 9 months ago

Contd Other manufacturers also tend to use proprietary software / standards so poor interoperability.

  • jumpmum
  • 9 months ago

If we cannot trust Huawei, can I put all our feet into Nokia/Cisco?

The safest way is to mix them up and let them fight with each other.

As a normal citizen, I just want a fast and economical network.

In fact, BT was the only foreign telecom company to enter the Chinese market which could now be ruined because of this political drama...

  • rian
  • 9 months ago

Surely no decisions should be made by UK until after the US election when (hopefully) the US will have a new president?

  • zhango
  • 9 months ago

Very sensible words of wisdom :). We all need to cross our fingers, and/or pray, and/or any similar methods of influencing the future.

  • uniquename
  • 9 months ago

  • uniquename
  • 9 months ago

I'm very glad to see the Govt change its previously idiotic stance.
Regardless of specific security concerns, the DUK has given away far too much of its commercial capacity to China already, as has much of Europe and USA.
The core infrastructure of a country should NEVER, under any circumstances, be transferable to a foreign power. That principle holds no matter who is US President.
To gamble with our IT infrastructure exceeded even the deranged thinking that allowed foreign interests to have a hand in our power and water supplies. Complete effing betrayal of the DUK by dolts. TGF for Trump

  • Tropi
  • 9 months ago

WOW even the never braindead Trumper get on this site :)

  • ste211270
  • 9 months ago

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