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EE and Vodafone pull Huawei phones from 5G network launch

By Caoimhe Toman

Date: Wednesday 22 May 2019

EE and Vodafone pull Huawei phones from 5G network launch

(Sharecast News) - BT owned EE and Vodafone announced on Wednesday that they won't offer phones from Huawei when they roll out Britain's first 5G mobile network next week.
Pushed by the US ban earlier this week, the UK mobile phone operators have succumbed to the pressure from Washington, following in the footsteps of other mobile carriers around the world that had already distanced themselves from Huawei.

Japan's largest telecom operator, NTT Docomo cancelled pre-orders of its new P30 handset on Wednesday and KDDI said it would indefinitely delay introduction of the phone. Taiwanese carrier Chunghwa Telecom said it won't procure new Huawei models.

EE, part of BT, had planned to offer Huawei phones as part of its launch on Wednesday of the UK's first 5G network, but decided to hit "pause" because of the uncertainty generated by the latest moves from US authorities.

Nevertheless, BT will still rely heavily on Huawei, the world's largest provider of networking gear and No. 2 smartphone vendor, as it's supplying much of the infrastructure for the new network.

"We've put the Huawei devices on pause until we've got a bit more information on that," the head of BT's consumer division Marc Allera said at a launch event.

"There are so many scenarios and we don't have any clarity. But we can't stand still," he said. "Nothing is crystal clear but we have to work within that ambiguity," he added.

For its part, Vodafone said it would suspend Huawei's Mate X phone from its 5G line-up. The company had planned to launch the handset in the summer on its 5G network, but a spokesman said on Wednesday that "Huawei's 5G handset is yet to receive the necessary certifications".

One of the key developments that may have pushed the mobile phone carriers to give Huawei the cold shoulder was Google's announcement, earlier in the same week, that it would not grant the Chinese telecoms equipment maker access to its Android services.

BT's 5G service will be available across the UK's six biggest cities from May 30 and is expected to reach 16 urban areas by 2020, Allera said.

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