Vodafone UK suspends pre-orders of Huawei 5G phones amid security concerns

16:04 | 23/05/2019
British telecom group Vodafone announced on Wednesday (May 22) it was suspending pre-orders of Huawei 5G handsets amid a security controversy over the Chinese giant.
vodafone uk suspends pre orders of huawei 5g phones amid security concerns
File photo of a Huawei phone and logo. (Photo: AFP/Fred Dufour)

"We are pausing pre-orders for the Huawei Mate 20X in the UK. This is a temporary measure while uncertainty exists regarding new Huawei 5G devices," said a spokesperson for Vodafone UK.

It comes after British firm EE announced it had "paused" the launch of Huawei's 5G phones.

EE will become the first operator in the UK to launch a 5G network but said on Wednesday it will do so without Huawei technology.

EE's chief executive Marc Allera said the launch of the Huawei phones has been suspended "until we get the information and confidence and the long-term security that our customers ... are going to be supported".

US officials this week, however, issued a 90-day reprieve on the ban on dealing with Huawei, saying breathing space is needed to avoid huge disruption.

Last week Trump declared a "national emergency" empowering him to blacklist companies seen as "an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States" - a move analysts said was clearly aimed at Huawei.

The US Commerce Department also announced an effective ban on US companies from supplying Huawei and affiliates with the critical components that have helped it grow into the world's largest supplier of telecom networking equipment and second-biggest smartphone maker.

Analysis: Huawei badly needs the Chinese government, tech rivals to back its OS plans READ: Google blocks Huawei’s access to Android updates: What you need to know Washington has long suspected deep links between Huawei and the Chinese military, and its moves against the company come amid the churning trade dispute between the world's top two economies.

Following the announcement of the US ban, the risks for Huawei came into focus when Google, whose Android operating system powers most of the world's smartphones, said it would cut ties with Huawei as a result of the ban.

That poses a dire threat to Huawei as loss of full access to Google's services could make its phones a hard sell to consumers.

Agencies/AFP

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