Both UK and US authorities have warned companies against working with the Chinese firm on the grounds of national security

Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has warned UK telco’s against working with Chinese kit maker ZTE, claiming that the company poses a potential risk to national security.

In the US, the government has imposed a seven-year ban on telcos working with the Chinese firm, following allegations of collusion with North Korea and Iran.

“NCSC assess that the national security risks arising from the use of ZTE equipment or services within the context of the existing UK telecommunications infrastructure cannot be mitigated,” said a spokesperson from the UK’s NCSC.

ZTE currently has a research partnership with the UK’s incumbent, BT. However, BT told The Financial Times newspaper that this did not mean that it would lead to deployment of ZTE hardware in the UK.  

“BT takes the security of the UK’s critical national infrastructure very seriously and has a robust testing regime in place to ensure that the equipment from all suppliers used in our network remains secure,” a spokesperson told the Financial Times.

Trading of ZTE’s shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange was suspended following the announcements by the UK and US authorities.