The ban on Huawei equipment cost British Telecom half a billion pounds
September 25, 2023

The ban on Huawei equipment cost British Telecom half a billion pounds

When the UK government decided to ban the development of 5G Huawei infrastructure in its countries, it did so to supposedly protect its citizens from the Chinese government eavesdropping on their conversations. This has affected telecommunications operators such as British Telecom.

However, British Telecom's (BT) director of security and networks, Howard Watson, says the decision has cost the company £500 million (roughly $612 million). Instead of building on existing infrastructure, UK telecommunications providers were forced to replace existing equipment first, which slowed down the whole process and added zeros to the overall cost.

Additional burden

Andrea Dona, Vodafone's director of networks, added that the ban, followed by a subsequent move to replace existing Huawei equipment with competitors' equipment, created “an additional burden for the already limited capital prioritization process”.

“We don't get any extra money when these things happen,” he said. “The net effect of the law declaring Huawei a high-risk supplier means we've had to slow down the 5G deployment process.”

However, the organizations have almost finished replacing the equipment. British Telecom is “on track” to replace Huawei with Ericsson equipment by the end of the year, so that now around 90% of 5G mobile data in the UK uses Swedish infrastructure, writes Tech Radar.

For the government, on the other hand, network security is a top priority: “The long-term security and continued resilience of the UK's telecommunications network is of the utmost importance,” a CityAM spokesperson was quoted as saying.

5G in Serbia

The Minister of Information and Telecommunications, Mihailo Jovanović, said last week for RTS that it is possible to introduce a 5G network in Serbia next year. After the public discussion on the rulebook on 5G networks, the bidding process for the allocation of frequencies begins. According to the minister, it is expected that Serbia will receive the first 5G users by the end of 2024.