back to article BT misses deadline for removing Huawei from network core

The deadline for UK telcos to remove Huawei equipment from their core networks has now passed, with BT admitting 2G and 3G services are still served by infrastructure that is not compliant. Yet it isn't clear what measures, if any, BT may face for this. Britain's telecoms operators were served with formal legal notices by the …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    1. Justthefacts Silver badge

      Re: Remember the days when...

      I think you should re-read what I actually wrote, at the link you provided, including the thread context. You crow that BT has admitted that some of the 2G and 3G CN is Huawei boxes. But the discussion was about 5G.

      Did you read where I wrote that CESG made the ruling in *2016*?Tell me, how much new *2G* kit was BT buying in 2016? I differentiated provision as to whether Huawei was providing RAN, eNodeB, or CN? Perhaps you could enlighten me what a 2G eNodeB looks like? Or a 3G eNodeB? The thread doesn’t even make sense of having the right network elements, if the discussion was about 2G. It’s not even meaningful to worry *specifically* about the Core Network in 3G, because the RAN is capable of decrypting data anyway. RANs are just as much a security threat as Core Network in 3G.

      My point was *clearly* about 4G kit being procured to maintain current networks, and 5G for future networks. The discussion in Parliament and elsewhere has all been around Huawei’s role in 5G. The new security architecture refers to the 5G security architecture. Non-trusted Non-CN threat has been addressed in 5G, by re-architecting. There is no Huawei 5G problem, and never has been.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Remember the days when...

        You wrote:

        "Lawful Intercept only exists in the Core Network. The West has *never* bought any Core Network boxes from Huawei. Huawei provide only Radio Access Nodes, and eNodeB."

        BT's Huawei core was from 2G to 5G. No "g's will salvage that claim from being blatantly false. There's only one way to read this. Period.

        1. Justthefacts Silver badge

          Re: Remember the days when...

          The article is literally headlined: “U.K. government orders to remove Huawei equipment from Britain's *5G* networks have reportedly led to outages for customers of Sky Mobile.” There are no references in the article to anything other than 5G. What do you think the odds are, that I was talking about the 5G technology discussed in the article, rather than GSM? I also failed to state that I was excluding SS5 from consideration, another instance of my wilful incompetence I guess.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Remember the days when...

            I have no idea what you escape strategy is, but you seem to ignore that major 5G packet core vendors (including Huawei) support so-called dual mode core offerings. In a dual mode core 4G and 5G CNFs share a common CaaS. For instance the 5G AMF and its homologous 4G MME running in the same Kubernetes cluster. This enables fast handovers and keeping same PDU sessions (through N26 reference point for instance). E.g. in case of EPS Fallback

            So if you're trying to claim that you were not talking about 5G, or talking only about 5G (whichever it is - in both configurations your statement is still 100% WRONG irrespective of the existence of dual mode cores), you're just showing your ignorance about dual mode packet cores.

            So, my kind advice: better leave it there, and move on.

            Happy new year.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Remember the days when...

      You've got to remember that China pays a lot of people to shill for them in online forums.

      They're known as wumao, or the 50-cent army.

  2. Adam JC

    Given OFCOM's track record, they have about as much spine as a jellyfish so I doubt we'll see any actual fines being issued any time soon.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No need for fines

      BT have gone to extraordinary lengths to swap Huawei out. Swapping out a core network supporting 25+ million subscribers is not exactly a walk in the park. There were hundreds of applications involved in the transformation. BT had to invest a lot in the transition and in their automated testing tool. This test tool is now an extremely important asset for BT in managing their network.

      You have to understand that there is not a single moment when all network functions are at the same revision level across all datacentres. Instead, network functions are continuously upgraded and patched. Yet, there is no interruption of service. Any potential mishap that slips through is caught and fixed before it gets a chance to impact user experience. BT only deserve praises, not fines.

      In any case, all these upskillings and uptoolings will naturally bear their own rewards, as BT are now coming out of this challenge with increased business agility.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      The kit that is still in use is 2G and 3G, which is planned to be phased out anyway.

      It wouldn't surprise me, if they have replaced all 4G and 5G kit, they don't get an extension for legacy 2G/3G kit and allowed to push the cut-off date for turning off 2G and 3G services, as opposed to replacing that kit.

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      Ofcom can’t really issue any fines, they are the ones preventing the decommissioning of the 2G and 3G networks…

  3. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Two options

    1) Get rid of the 2G and 3G kit, buy replacement kit at a significant capital cost

    or

    2) Wait for a bit, declare that 2G and 3G are to be removed from the BT system imminently, dump now redundant hardware and have no capital outlay.

    Now, let's look at the declared future of 2G and 3G delivery and ask ourselves, why would they even bother replacing the kit?

    1. katrinab Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Two options

      They have already done option 2

      https://www.theregister.com/2023/09/19/bt_confirms_nationwide_3g_switch/

      3G is to be switched off between January [now] and March 2024.

      2G, I suspect will stay around a bit longer.

      1. VicMortimer Silver badge

        Re: Two options

        They're keeping 2G on? It's been shut down for years in the US. Most of the 3G network was shut down last year.

        1. katrinab Silver badge

          Re: Two options

          Yes, because I think a lot of the embeded stuff relies on it, and doesn't really need anything faster. Also, it does give you voice calls in most remote areas where nothing else is available.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Abusing Lawful Interception wiretapping probes...

    ... is trivial if you're already part of the core network (slides).

  5. t245t Silver badge
    Big Brother

    All data and voice calls are now directly delivered to Utah /s

    “All 4G and 5G data sessions and voice calls are now delivered by non-Huawei core equipment” .. plugged directly into the NSA Data Farm” ;)

  6. Zibob Bronze badge

    So...

    ...When is the rip out of Cisco et al. hardware happening?

    If the worry is government level spying, well the US have been proven to do such with their hardware but as of yet there has been no actual proof of anything with huawei gear.

    Not saying its not happening, but that its a two way street, so why the singling out other than non specific fear mongering that China is bad, you don't need to know how, just that they are bad.

    1. Mike 137 Silver badge

      Re: So...

      Given the findings of sloppy development practice in successive annual reports by the UK Huawei Oversight Board, it's open to question whether huawei would be capable of implementing viable backdoors in their kit. But anyway, as practically all comms kit (regardless of brand) is built in China, what's to stop backdoors being inserted into any kit?

      1. Disgusted of Cheltenham

        Re: So...

        The reports of sloppy development also mentioned that finding this in the equipment they had looked at did not mean it wasn't in that of other suppliers. Note also that the UK was not in the vanguard of bans (just a limit on coverage), indeed HMG only acted when the US export controls on China made it impossible to get repairs, upgrades and fixes.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its such a shame the old Anglo countries have kotowed to the USA in this manner, and got them to remove technologically superior, more affordable & spyware free, Chinese gear..

    All so in fact, they can keep or add American (or American modified) gear that allows the USA to spy on everyone.

    I'm really looking forward to the future, when all these corrupt government decisions are laid bare, and placed into the public domain.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Bad story

      > All so in fact, they can keep or add American (or American modified) gear that allows the USA to spy on everyone.

      There are no US telecom gear vendors anymore. Motorola used to do sell GSM equipment. The only two sizeable Huawei competitors are European: Nokia and Ericsson.

  8. martinusher Silver badge

    Surely we're not still beating that old drum?

    Its been a few years since the 'rip and replace / security threat' line was first pushed on us. Since then we might have noticed that the US government's stance has changed a bit -- or rather they dropped the 'fear those dastardly Reds and their underhand ways' line for the more direct, and honest, 'we need to take them down' (Huawei initially, now China in general). Despite these changes there are still articles coming out pushing the old line and the usual crowd echoing them (even as the UK government has demonstrated time and again not only total incompetence but a willingness to toe the American line regardless of how silly it is or how much damage it does ti the country as a whole).

    What's wrong with everyone? Suerly recent articles like the one about the iPhone backdoor should have tipped everyone about how real professionals work?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Surely we're not still beating that old drum?

      You got to admire how usual China stooges manage to craft a story painting China as a victim in every occasion, even when "the Reds" are caught "red-handed". Nice work guys.

      Not sure whether you can extend your compassion to the Chinese dissidents who were spied upon by Chinese political police through Huawei gear on Dutch KPN network. This is no "evil USA" story, but from Capgemini themselves. This is not reported by Fox News, but by The Guardian. Here. Have a read.

      "Huawei ‘may have eavesdropped on Dutch mobile network’s calls’ Chinese firm could have been monitoring calls of KPN’s 6.5m users without its knowledge, report claims"

      "The Chinese telecoms equipment supplier Huawei was able to monitor all calls made on one of the Netherlands’ largest mobile phone networks, according to a confidential report seen by the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant. The report, made for KPN by the Capgemini consultancy firm in 2010, concluded that the Chinese company could have been monitoring the calls of the provider’s 6.5m users without the Dutch company’s knowledge, according to the newspaper. Conversations that Huawei staff in the Netherlands and China could have monitored included calls made by the then prime minister, Jan Peter Balkenende, and Chinese dissidents, the report claimed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        China learned from a Master

        Take this:=

        "You got to admire how usual China stooges manage to craft a story painting China as a victim in every occasion, even when "the Reds" are caught "red-handed". Nice work guys."

        and replace 'China' with 'Trump' and that is all you need to know. He whines about how he is the victim when the opposite is true. The same applies to China.

      2. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: Surely we're not still beating that old drum?

        But can't you tell the difference between "according to reports" and a detailed account describing hardware how/what/why?

        This is a technical website so I would expect it to be up on the details and a bit light on general purpose innuendo.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Surely we're not still beating that old drum?

          Did you go through this? You need more technical insights? Until you get a big screenshot with a conspicuous "backdoor here" comment in some code, you're going to claim "there's no proof"? That's called bias.

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