What you need to know
- EE is dropping Huawei phones from its 5G launch.
- Its service is launching on May 30 and EE will be the first in the UK to provide 5G.
- BT acquired EE in 2015 and has since begun removing Huawei equipment from sensitive areas on its network.
Huawei has been dealt yet another blow, this time in the UK, as mobile carrier EE has decided to remove Huawei's phones from its 5G launch.
EE, a BT-owned mobile carrier, is launching its first 5G network on May 30 and initially had plans to carry the Huawei Mate 20 X and later the Mate X foldable 5G enabled phones.
However, after the recent U.S. ban which would see Huawei lose direct access to Android and Google's Play Store, EE has decided to put a "pause" on Huawei devices. When asked about the decision, the head of BT's consumer division, Marc Allera said, "We've put the Huawei devices on pause, until we have more information."
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.
While it certainly makes sense to put a hold on selling the phones until Huawei's future is more certain, it could have an adverse effect on 5G adoption in general. At the moment, there are very few phones on the market which support 5G speeds, and that could make it more difficult for consumers to quickly adopt the new technology. A telecoms analyst, Paolo Pescatore, had this to say on the matter:
It is a move that makes sense for now. Lots of uncertainty surrounds 5G in light of the recent security concerns surrounding Huawei. This will have a negative impact on 5G consumer takeup in the short term.
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. This comes as part of the policy change that began after the 2015 acquisition of EE, which included removing Huawei equipment from sensitive parts of the network susceptible to security breaches.
Even though the 5G service is currently being built on top of the existing 4G network, BT ensures it is secure and all Huawei technology will be removed from core systems by 2022.
While this is yet another bad headline for Huawei, it doesn't mean the phones won't later be carried by EE. For now, Huawei still has bigger issues to deal with, such as the recent announcement from ARM to cut ties with the company. A move that could put Huawei out of the mobile phone business entirely.