Huawei in spy row as top executive arrested and BT removes equipment

Rob Waugh
A man walks by a Huawei logo at a shopping mall in Shanghai, China December 6, 2018. REUTERS/Aly Song

The world’s second biggest smartphone maker Huawei, is at the centre of a spying and trade dispute after a top executive was arrested in Canada, and BT removed 4G networking equipment in the UK.

Meng Wanzhou, daughter of the company’s founder and CEO was arrested in connection with an investigation into alleged violations of U.S. trade sanctions.

Huawei is the world’s largest supplier of telecommunications network equipment and second-biggest maker of smartphones. It had revenue of £72 billion last year.

But British and U.S. intelligence agencies have alleged that Huawei is linked to China’s government, and that its equipment could contain ‘backdoors’ which could be used to snoop on or disrupt communications.

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Huawei is a world leader in equipment used to build phone networks, and was heavily involved in building the 4G networks in Britain.

But BT said in a statement this week that it was removing equipment made by the Chinese company, which was founded by a former Chinese military officer.

Huawei equipment will also not be used in the upcoming 5G network, the company announced.

BT said in a statement, ‘In 2016, following the acquisition of EE, we began a process to remove Huawei equipment from the core of our 3G and 4G mobile networks, as part of network architecture principles in place since 2006.

‘Huawei have not been included in vendor selection for our 5G core. Huawei remains an important equipment provider outside the core network and a valued innovation partner.’

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