The EE 5G network will be live in six cities at launch - London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast, Birmingham and Manchester. It said it is upgrading more than 100 new sites to 5G every month.
The Chinese firm's 5G-compatible Mate X and Mate 20 X were bundled into many an EE publicity bumpf prior to today's launch - and it seems some still received the older version this morning.
Phase two will bring the full next-generation 5G core network, while EE envisions phase three enabling the "tactile internet", where a sense of touch can be added to remote real-time interactions.
"We're pausing the launch of the new Huawei 5G smartphones coming to market", said a spokesman, adding that EE is working with both the Chinese firm and Google to "make sure we can carry out the right level of testing and quality assurance" for customers. EE says it has instead adopted a "demand-led" strategy, focusing on specific areas - such as Wembley Stadium and Hyde Park "where the need is greatest". When asked about the decision, the head of BT's consumer division, Marc Allera said, "We've put the Huawei devices on pause, until we have more information".
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The first 1,500 sites to benefit now carry 25% of all data across the whole network, but only cover 15% of the United Kingdom population. Plans start from £54 per month (for 10GB of data) and extend up to £74 per month (for 120GB of data).
The news comes just a day after two Japanese mobile operators, KDDI and SoftBank, postponed the upcoming launch of Huawei smartphone sales in light of Google banning software updates for devices made by the Chinese telecom giant.
However, BT-owned EE joined rival Vodafone in pulling a Huawei smartphone from its 5G launch line-up because of uncertainty about support by Google's Android after a USA move to block the Chinese firm's access to its technology.
Plymouth and Exeter have been listed to get 5G in 2020.
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EE will be testing their new 5G service at Glastonbury.
The Chinese comms giant's Honor launch went on as planned in London last night, with nary a mention of Google or Android; although several onlookers noted the operating system was running on the gear as the sub-brand's president George Zhao unveiled the new devices. "Higher bandwidth and lower latency, coupled with expansive and growing 5G coverage, will enable a more responsive network, enabling truly immersive mobile augmented reality, real-time health monitoring, and mobile cloud gaming".
The issue has also been the source of heated controversy in Britain ever since a leak from the country's National Security Council last month suggested the government was planning a limited role for Huawei in its 5G network.
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