Following Google’s decision to stop supplying its Android OS to Huawei, both EE and Vodafone have announced that they would drop the Chinese company’s phones from their 5G launch.
EE made their announcement as they laid out plans for the first next generation mobile network which will go live on 30th May. The first cities will be London, Cardiff, Belfast, Birmingham and Manchester. EE said that by the end of the year 5G would be expanded to 16 cities and then by 2020 the network would cover 50 towns and cities.
EE also announced it planned to upgrade its mobile sites to 5G at a rate of 100 per month and to have at least 1,500 live in towns and cities by the end of 2019.
Until we have the information and confidence that ensures our customers will get support for the lifetime of their devices with us then we’ve got the Huawei devices on pause.- Marc Allera: head of consumer division: BT
Earlier this week Vodafone said it would include Huawei in its non-core 5G network, but that was before Google’s announcement. The company’s response was to fall in line and reverse their policy and no longer offer Huawei phones. The company had been due to start pre-orders for Huawei 5G phones this week but now say they will temporarily suspend their involvement and ‘keep this situation under review.’
EE’s decision is in line with their parent company’s strategy. BT, which bought EE in 2015 is in the process of removing Huawei technology from the core areas in its 4G network. This will be a complex process as Huawei has been supplying equipment to BT since 2003. Just last year Huawei hooked up with BT for the first UK lab test of an end-to-end 5G network.
BT’s 5G service is built on top of its 4G network but insisted there was no security risk and all Huawei equipment will have been removed from its core systems by 2022. In line with this EE began removing Huawei equipment last year from the core of its 3G and 4G networks.
At present there are few smartphones available that can support 5G. So, to benefit from the new, faster networks, consumers will have to buy a new phone. currently EE is offering a 5G premium product at £5 more per month than a regular 4G plan. Their cheapest plan so far starts at £54 a month, with the cheapest handset retailing from £150.