British Mobile Operator EE to Start 5G Services, Will Not Offer Huawei

May 22, 2019 Updated: May 22, 2019

LONDON—Britain’s biggest mobile operator EE aims to launch the country’s first 5G service next week, but it will not offer Huawei handsets until the Chinese company’s future becomes clear following its row with the United States.

EE, owned by former British telecoms monopoly BT, said it planned to launch the 5G network in six cities, including London, from May 30. It aims to have 1,500 5G sites by the end of 2019.

Huawei handsets had been expected to be among the devices available on the new superfast networks.

But EE Chief Executive Mark Allera told reporters the use of Huawei 5G devices had now been paused until it could be confident that devices would be supported for their lifetime.

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.

The EE 5G smartphone range will now include models by Samsung, LG and OnePlus.

By Paul Sandle