British telecoms giant EE says to launch 5G without Huawei

Andrew Cummings
May 22, 2019

"We need to check whether our customers will be able to safely use Huawei smartphones amid concerns over Google's (future) moves", a SoftBank spokesman said.

A senior Huawei employee said the company is planning to introduce its own operating system for its smartphones, possibly this fall, as a countermeasure to the USA restrictions, according to the Chinese media.

Were officially eight days away from the first commercially available 5G network in the UK. EE's 5G smart plans, which will come with "swappable benefits" including exclusive add-ons for 5G customers, will offer customers between 10GB and 120GB data, with prices starting from £54 per month.

Users were already regularly achieving speed of 500Mbps in tests networks, Allera said, adding that he was confident speeds of 1Gbps would be reached by the end of the year.

The BT-owned telecoms giant said it will be the first operator in the United Kingdom to launch the new, high-speed mobile network.

It aims to have 1,500 5G sites by the end of 2019, targeting the busiest areas of the busiest cities, he said.

Kester Mann, principal analyst, operators at CCS Insight said: "Being first-to-market with 5G matters little to consumers, but is clearly an important honour for BT".

As you'd expect EE will also launch this alongside several new 5G plans (SIM-Only and handset bundles), including a range of six supporting smartphones (Samsung S10 5G, OnePlus 7 Pro 5G, LG V50 ThinQ and Oppo Reno 5G) and devices (e.g. a 5GEE Home router with external antenna that can connect individual homes to ultrafast broadband). Following swiftly in its footsteps on July 3 is Vodafone.

At an event to celebrate the launch, BT Group CEO Marc Allera addressed the turmoil surrounding the Chinese OEM and confirmed (via The Verge) that the carrier will be putting the sale of new Huawei devices "on pause" for the initial rollout.

The world's second-biggest phone maker runs its devices on Google's Android platform outside China, but the U.S. Commerce Department blocked Huawei from buying U.S. goods last week, throwing future software updates into question.

Britain was set to allow Huawei some participation in the radio part of 5G networks but bar it from the intelligent core.

USA officials this week, however, issued a 90-day reprieve on the ban on dealing with Huawei, saying breathing space is needed to avoid huge disruption.

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