Published: Thu, May 23, 2019
IT | By Jonathon Greene

UK, Japan mobile operators suspend Huawei 5G phone launches

Compared with 4G, which launched back in 2012, EE's new 5G network is claimed to offer increased speeds, reliability and connectivity. The UK's third largest mobile operator has said only that the device "is yet to receive the necessary certifications", but it's likely similar pressures faced by EE were also behind the decision.

"Lots of uncertainty surrounds 5G in light of the recent security concerns surrounding Huawei", said telecoms analyst Paolo Pescatore of PP Insight.

It's worth pointing out that, as of writing, the EE website still sells products like the Huawei P30 that would also suffer if the Android restrictions go ahead.

EE said it will initially launch in six cities: London, Cardiff, Belfast, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Manchester, with more to follow before the end of the year and into 2020.

EE will be testing their new 5G service at Glastonbury.

Kester Mann, an analyst at research firm CCS Insight, said: "In getting 5G as soon as next week, the United Kingdom will have completed a remarkable turnaround from laggard to leader". At the moment, there are very few phones on the market which support 5G speeds, and that could make it more hard for consumers to quickly adopt the new technology.

With $105 billion in global sales past year, Huawei is the world's largest provider of equipment used in 5G telecom networks, and the second largest seller of smartphones.

"Being first-to-market with 5G matters little to consumers, but is clearly an important honour for BT".

"There is no current government guidance to suggest we should not use Huawei, but if the guidance changes we will reconsider".

"We are launching 5G with Huawei in the radio access network and we are using an upgraded version of that existing core, which will migrated away from", Watson said. "That will be disruptive but there are other people that provide equipment", he said.

"A ban would require operators to replace such equipment before they could deploy 5G technology", he said.

EE and Vodafone have opened orders for 5G phones, for example from Samsung, to be available when their networks launch.

Launches next year will include Aberdeen, Cambridge, Derby, Gloucester, Peterborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Southampton, Worcester and Wolverhampton.

Nevertheless EE says they deploying 5G "rapidly from today" and intend to add more than 100 new sites per month (each is expected to be linked via a 10Gbps fibre line).

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