BT Chooses Ericsson as 5G Partner After UK Huawei Ban

October 28, 2020 Updated: October 28, 2020

BT has selected Ericsson as its partner for 5G deployment in major UK cities including London, Edinburgh, Belfast, and Cardiff, managing around 50 percent of their total 5G traffic.

This announcement marks a significant strengthening in the BT–Ericsson strategic partnership, the Swedish telecommunications firm said on Wednesday in a statement.

It comes after the British government banned Chinese telecom giant Huawei from its 5G networks in July.

The Huawei logo is pictured at the IFA consumer tech fair in Berlin, Germany, Sep. 6, 2019. (Hannibal Hanschke/Reuters)
The Huawei logo at the IFA consumer tech fair in Berlin on Sept. 6, 2019. (Hannibal Hanschke/Reuters)

The new BT–Ericsson deal builds on BT’s selection of Ericsson for 5G Core earlier in the year. Once the deployment is completed, Ericsson will manage around 50 percent of BT’s 5G traffic.

“We’re the UK leader in 5G and are excited to be working with Ericsson as a key partner to maintain that market leadership,” BT CEO Philip Jansen said.

“The lightning-fast speeds of 5G will help [our customers] to develop their businesses, stream a growing choice of content over our network, and stay in touch with colleagues and friends all over the world.”

Börje Ekholm, the president and CEO of Ericsson, said the company was pleased to strength its relationship with BT, and deliver “high performance and secure 5G” across major cities.

“By deploying 5G in these key areas, we are yet again demonstrating our technology leadership in population-dense and high traffic locations,” he said.

BT signed a contract with Ericsson’s rival Nokia last month to provide 5G radio equipment for multiple towns and cities across Britain, as well as rural locations.

Epoch Times Photo
Visitors check products at the Nokia stand at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona on February 27, 2019. (JOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images)

BT’s latest deal represent a trend among European telecom operators to move away from Huawei, which has close links to the Chinese regime.

The Trump administration, which fears Huawei equipment could be used by Beijing for spying, has put pressure on America’s European allies to exclude the Chinese firm from supplying key telecom equipment.

Earlier this month, Belgian telecom companies Orange and Proximus dropped Huawei and picked Nokia to help build the 5G networks in Belgium, which hosts the headquarters of NATO and the European Union.

Nokia and Ericsson have been the main beneficiaries of the challenges facing Huawei. From Bell Canada and Telus Corp. in Canada to BT in Britain, the Nordic companies have been grabbing market share from the Chinese firm.

Reuters contributed to this report.