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Scrapping Huawei could delay UK 5G rollout by up to two years

Paul Lipscombe
March 25, 2019

Network heads warn of massive consequences for 5G if government ban on Huawei comes in

Any UK government ban forbidding the networks to install 5G infrastructure would lead to a delay in 5G rollout and a price rise to consumers.

This warning came from BT Group and Vodafone chief technology officers Howard Watson and Scott Petty at the Mobile News XPO 5G Symposium held at The Hilton on Park Lane on March 14.

The government was due to decide whether to ban operators from buying Huawei parts this month.

Watson said Huawei’s 5G technology was 18 months ahead of that of Ericsson and Nokia. BT had already removed parts of Huawei equipment from its 4G network as part of the rationalisation of the BT and EE networks after it bought EE in 2015.

Watson said: “Huawei has some particular sweet spots, one of which is being very good at modulation techniques and massive MIMO capability. To block that out from us would do a disservice to the UK economy.”

Vodafone chief technology officer Scott Petty said the impact of a ban would be “huge” and detrimental”.

“We run 4G networks using Huawei equipment in parts of our network. You’re talking about hundreds of millions of pounds to replace parts. We can’t deploy 5G without 4G. You can’t run one 5G vendor attached to another 4G vendor, so it will slow down our deployment (of 5G) by 18 months to two years.”

Embattled Chinese tech giant Huawei is suing the US government in its most aggressive move yet to fight back against accusations that its technology poses a global security threat. It has filed a lawsuit in Texas challenging a recent

US law that bans federal agencies from buying its products.

“This ban not only is unlawful, but also restricts Huawei from engaging in fair competition, ultimately harming US consumers,” Huawei deputy chairman Guo Ping said at a news conference in Shenzhen.

Ping accused the American Congress of acting as “judge, jury and executioner” by imposing the ban.

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