EE and Vodafone ditch Huawei devices from summer 5G rollout

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British telecoms giant EE will this month become the first operator in the country to launch a 5G network but will do so without Huawei technology as originally planned, it said on Wednesday.

EE will be launching 5G initially in London, Cardiff, Belfast, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Manchester.

More than 100 new sites will then be turned on each month, with Bristol, Glasgow, Newcastle, Leicester, Liverpool, Leeds, Hull, Sheffield, Nottingham, and Coventry all getting some amount of outdoor 5G coverage before the end of 2019.

"5G will create new experiences with augmented reality, make our customers' lives easier, and help launch entirely new businesses that we haven't even imagined". At the press event EE also showed that it will sell Huawei 5G routers, so it's clear the company isn't enacting a blanket ban of Huawei products.

5G is being switched on from May 30 with download times expected to be infinitely faster than current 4G.

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.

"This is the start of the UK's 5G journey and great news for our customers that want and need the best connections", said Marc Allera, chief executive of BT's consumer division, which owns EE.

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It will install five temporary masts across the Worthy Farm site which will enable festival-goers to use 2G-5G networks. Plans start from £54 per month (for 10GB of data) and extend up to £74 per month (for 120GB of data).

There have been concerns raised about the role played by Chinese firm Huawei, which supplies network equipment to the UK's mobile operators for their roll-out of 5G, following the USA decision to curb its ability to do business in America.

The moves follow a decision by US President Donald Trump to effectively ban US companies from supplying Huawei and affiliates with critical components, citing security concerns.

Not only is EE dropping Huawei phones from its 5G launch, but BT is also in the process of removing Huawei technology from portions of its 4G network.

Huawei, 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. EE also announced the availability of the HTC 5G Smart Hub, also powered by the Snapdragon X50 5G Modem.

"The challenge we have at the moment is we don't have enough clarity on whether our customers are going to be able to be supported over a timeframe of a two or three-year contract", Allera said.