Wednesday 19 June 2019

BT drops new Huawei phones as Trump ban starts to bite

Sanctions: US President Donald Trump’s move to include Huawei on an export blacklist threatens to cut it off from US suppliers. Photo: Bloomberg
Sanctions: US President Donald Trump’s move to include Huawei on an export blacklist threatens to cut it off from US suppliers. Photo: Bloomberg

Thomas Seal

BT won't offer phones from Huawei when it starts Britain's first 5G mobile network next week, joining a growing list of wireless operators ditching the Chinese company's handsets after the US blocked it from critical suppliers.

BT decided not to include Huawei phones in its 5G launch because of uncertainty over whether they could use Android software developed by Google parent Alphabet, a spokesman said. It will still rely heavily on Huawei, the world's largest provider of networking gear, as it's supplying much of the infrastructure for the new network.

President Donald Trump's move last week to put Huawei on an export blacklist threatens to cut it off from the US software and semiconductors it needs to make its products. Phone companies around the world are in turn grappling with uncertainty over how they'll access Huawei gear. Huawei's 5G-capable smartphones rely on Android and Google is now banned from giving Huawei access to the most popular version of the mobile operating system.

"We've put the Huawei devices on pause until we've got a bit more information on that," said BT consumer chief Marc Allera. Asian wireless operators also began to distance themselves from Huawei yesterday.

Bloomberg

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