Three has announced a new partnership with Huawei, giving the Chinese firm the responsibility of managing its network.
Huawei will take responsibility of service management and operations surrounding Three’s core network, and will use its technology partner, Tech Mahindra, to take care of internal ICT applications.
The deal will mean a number of staff from will be transferred to either Huawei or Tech Mahindra from Three, but the mobile operator would not reveal numbers or roles.
Dave Dyson, CEO of Three in the UK, said this sharing of staff was key to the partnership, enabling Huawei to use the “existing team experience” to give it better insight into the core network.
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”The decision to select Huawei to manage core network operations was made following a rigorous procurement process,” Dave Dyson said.
“We chose the partner that best met our requirements and which matched our long-term vision of how our network should be managed.”
Huawei already works with Three in six other countries, meaning this latest deal is an extension of an existing relationship.
This is also the second partnership Huawei has signed this year with a mobile operator. In May, it announced a tie-up with O2, which would also see it manage the core network and take on 56 permanent employees, as well as 62 contractors, from the provider.
The two major deals in the UK come at a time of increasing scrutiny for Huawei.
In October, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in the US published a report claiming Huawei networking equipment posed a risk to national security, giving the Chinese government a spy hole into corporate networks.
The committee’s chair, Mike Rogers, said in a television interview: “I would find another supplier if you care about your intellectual property, if you care about your consumers’ privacy, and if you care about the national security of the USA.”
The UK intelligence and security parliamentary select committee admitted it was looking into Huawei’s operations on our shores a few days later, but existing partners of the company, including BT and TalkTalk, stood by their decisions to use the Chinese firm’s equipment.
“Huawei has been a partner of ours for a number of years, as it has been for most of the British telecommunications industry, and we will continue working with it,” said a spokesman from TalkTalk.
“Any British company working with Huawei has been given clearance to do so by the necessary authorities. We value our partnership with Huawei, which has helped us bring great value phone and broadband to this country.”
In September, Huawei announced a £1.3bn investment into its UK business and, even after the controversy, confirmed in October it would be opening a new headquarters in the Green Park area of Reading and pledged to raise its employee numbers to 1,500 over the next five years.