UK BT, Vodafone may seek support from PM Johnson for Huawei: sources

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LONDON (Reuters) – Britain's BT and Vodafone are considering urging Prime Minister Boris Johnson not to risk the launch of next generation mobile networks by banning Huawei from China [HWT.UL], sources said, confirming a Sky News report on Friday.

ARCHIVE PHOTO: A participant wears a badge banner with the Huawei logo and a 5G sign at the 5G World Exhibition in Beijing, China, November 22, 2019. REUTERS / Jason Lee / File Photo

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Britain is expected to make a final decision on Huawei's role in building new 5G networks this month.

US government officials pushed for Huawei's total ban for security reasons, and the reports said they presented new evidence on Monday about the risks of using the Chinese company's equipment, calling it "madness".

BT and Vodafone, Britain's two largest telecommunications companies, are considering writing to Johnson to say that they saw no evidence to justify a total ban and urge him to make a fact-based decision, the sources said .

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Vodafone, which uses Huawei equipment on its radio network, said earlier that a general ban by the Chinese company would cost millions of pounds and significantly delay the deployment of 5G networks.

He stopped deploying the company's equipment on its core heavy data networks a year ago, until Western governments granted the company full security clearance.

BT also uses Huawei's equipment on networks, but it is not deployed in the smart core of its fixed-line network and is removing it from the core of its mobile network. In addition, it excluded Huawei from the bidding process for its future 5G network.

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Huawei vice president Victor Zhang said on Tuesday that he was confident that the UK government will make an evidence-based decision, "as opposed to unsubstantiated claims".

“Two UK parliamentary committees have concluded that there is no technical reason to forbid us from providing 5G equipment and this week the head of the (security service) MI5 said there is no reason to think & # 39; that the UK's intelligence sharing relationship with the US would be undermined. if Britain continues to use Huawei technology, ”he said.

BT and Vodafone declined to comment on the letter.

Reporting by Paul Sandle; edition by David Evans

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