A U.K. company will strip all Huawei Technologies Co. equipment from a 2.3 billion pound ($2.9 billion) project to equip police and ambulance workers with state-of-the-art communications gear, the Sunday Telegraph reported.
The operator of the project, intended to provide a new emergency services network to hundreds of thousands of first responders, made the decision following the policy of its owner, BT Group Plc, to remove Huawei components from networks. That’s set to extend work on the system, according to the report.
The move comes as China’s largest technology company grapples with growing concerns about the security of its equipment and allegations it may be employed by Beijing for espionage, which Huawei has repeatedly denied. In Europe, carriers and major customers from Orange SA to Deutsche Telekom AG have voiced concerns about Huawei’s gear, on top of existing bans in Australia, New Zealand and the U.S.
Fully replacing Huawei parts will take up to four years, with BT footing the bill, the newspaper reported. A government spokesman said that while Huawei parts would be removed, it was content the emergency systems infrastructure does not pose a security concern, according to the report.
A Huawei spokesman told the newspaper the company had worked with BT for 15 years and that the British carrier had a longstanding policy to use different vendors for different network layers. BT said Huawei remained an important equipment provider, according to the report.