The Chinese telecoms giant Huawei has won its first major managed services contract in the UK, with mobile operator Telefónica.
The deal was announced on Monday. Huawei will manage planning and implementation of Telefónica UK's core network for five years, the companies said. The Spanish carrier operates in the UK under the O2 brand.
"Huawei works with Telefónica in a number of markets around the world and today's agreement means we are extending our relationship to the UK," Huawei UK chief Victor Zhang said in the statement. "Today's announcement is an important first step in building a world-class managed services capability in the UK."
Under the terms of the arrangement, 56 Telefónica UK employees who have until now managed the telco's network in-house will transfer over to Huawei. They will be accompanied by 62 contractors.
"Huawei will be responsible for planning and managing the core transmission, mobile access and core network build in the multi-vendor core network," Huawei said. "Huawei is the fastest growing managed services provider in the world, with more than 240 contracts in place with operators in more than 60 countries."
The Chinese firm is trying hard to push into the UK market, in terms of both mobile devices and its infrastructure business. It said a year ago that it would create 500 jobs here, and it has also set up a facility to let UK cybersecurity services test its kit.
Huawei has faced widespread suspicion over its supposed links to the Chinese military. Although the company has denied posing any threat to any country's national security, it continues to find it hard to get critical infrastructure contracts. Just two months ago, the Australian government reportedly blocked the company from tendering that country's national broadband network.