Sky Mobile and Three to offer Huawei 5G smartphones, despite security fears

O2, EE and others have left the Chine company's handsets out of their own 5G offerings

Ben Chapman
Friday 26 July 2019 15:33
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Three began offering the Mate 20 on Friday ahead of the roll-out of its 5G offering later this year
Three began offering the Mate 20 on Friday ahead of the roll-out of its 5G offering later this year

Sky Mobile and Three have become the first mobile operators to promise Huawei’s smartphones on the UK’s new 5G mobile networks, despite security fears about the Chinese technology company.

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Huawei’s Mate 20 X 5G device is one of a limited number of phones capable of utilising 5G, the fifth generation of mobile networking technology that allows significantly faster connections than its predecessors.

The US has said Huawei’s equipment could be used by China to spy on users, an allegation the Chinese company denies.

Sky Mobile said it will offer Mate 20 X 5G and Samsung's Galaxy S10 5G when it launches its 5G network in November.

Three began offering the Mate 20 on Friday ahead of the roll-out of its 5G offering later this year. Its customers will pay the same for 5G as they currently pay for 4G, the company announced on Friday.

Other networks, including EE, Vodafone and O2, have left Huawei’s handset out of their 5G launches.

America and a number of other nations have banned Huawei equipment from being used in their 5G networks.

On Monday, the UK government delayed the final decision on whether to ban the firm from the country’s 5G networks.

Currently, Huawei’s equipment is allowed to be used for “non-core” parts of the UK’s 5G infrastructure and there is nothing to prevent mobile networks from offering the company’s smartphones.“Core” parts of the network include those that check device IDs are checked and decide how to route voice calls and data.

Last month Huawei's UK boss, Anson Zhang, said the company had not changed anything about its devices in response to US sanctions and scrutiny in the UK.

His comments came weeks after former UK spy chief Sir Richard Dearlove warned that Huawei’s involvement in the 5G network represents a “potential security risk to the UK”.

The former MI6 director described reports that the government is ready to permit Huawei to bid for “non-core” elements of the project as “deeply worrying”.

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