BT looks to dilute Huawei’s influence in UK infrastructure

Huawei, the Chinese telecoms giant, may see its role in the United Kingdom’s infrastructure diluted as the country’s main communications provider seeks to increase the number of its equipment suppliers.

BT, the dominant phone company in the UK, is seeking a third vendor of kit for its Openreach division as it prepares a nationwide roll-out of full-fibre internet. Openreach currently relies on Huawei and Nokia, of Finland.

“We welcome a diverse and competitive market. Diversity leads to greater innovation and ultimately benefits customers,” Victor Zhang, vice-president of Huawei, told Al Jazeera.

“Huawei is proud to have been a supplier to BT since 2005, and we will continue to play a key role in supporting BT for building its broadband network. We look forward to a continued partnership that will help build a better connected UK.”

BT’s move comes as Huawei – the world’s largest telecoms equipment provider – is under pressure in European markets due to political tension over perceived cybersecurity risks and the fallout from the US-China trade war.

On Tuesday, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel called for Europe to form a united front in dealings with China, particularly in the development of next-generation 5G mobile networks spreading across the continent.

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