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EE and Vodafone pause Huawei 5G phone launches

Manny Pham
May 22, 2019

Both operators planned to launch two 5G Huawei smartphones

EE and Vodafone will not sell Huawei 5G smartphones after the company was blacklisted from using the Google Android operating system.

EE and Vodafone spokespersons told Mobile News they will pause the launch of 5G smartphones: the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G and the foldable Mate X.

Both operators did not confirm if the smartphones have been dropped entirely but discussions are being held with Huawei and Google.

EE confirmed today (May 22) it will launch 5G on May 30 with a portfolio of 5G smartphones. The launch will make EE the first UK operator to launch the new network standard. Rival operator Vodafone is launching 5G on July 3 in seven cities.

Vodafone today postponed its 5G media event tomorrow where it was to showcase 5G products and monthly plans, due to “ongoing media agenda” said a spokesperson.

Both operators may have paused Huawei 5G smartphones but both are using Huawei equipment in their respective 5G networks.

A Huawei spokesperson said: “We value our close relationships with our partners, but recognise the pressure some of them are under, as a result of politically motivated decisions. We are confident this regrettable situation can be resolved and our priority remains to continue to deliver world-class technology and products to our customers around the world.”

PP Foresight analyst Paolo Pescatore said: “Lots of uncertainty surround 5G in light of the recent security concerns surrounding Huawei. The lack of any Huawei 5G smartphones is noticeable. A move that makes sense for now.

“Consumers are starting to be wary about Huawei products and quite possibly other Chinese products. This will have a negative impact on 5G consumer take-up in the short term.”

Losing Android
US president Donald Trump signed an executive order on May 16 barring US companies from doing business with firms deemed a risk to national security.

As a result, future Huawei smartphones will not be installed with the latest version of Android, unless Huawei is given a special licence by the US government.

The US government has been intensifying its efforts to encourage ally nations to cease using Huawei products in 5G infrastructure.

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