O2 Set To Launch 5G Mobile Network In Select UK Cities In Oct 2019
Telecom network firm O2 announced that it will switch on its 5G mobile services network in October. It is likely to start the 5G network in Belfast, Cardiff, London, Slough, Leeds and Edinburg and then expand its services across 50 more cities and towns by 2020. This is the last of UK’s telecom service providers to roll out 5G network but is the only firm that has not used any equipment from Chinese firm Huawei. Spain based Telefonica which owns O2 has used equipment from Huawei in some of its other networks but this time decided to use other firms.
While trying out 5G network gear at its cell towers across UK O2 did trials of two other telecom equipment providers along with Huawei and then decided to work with its rival vendors that had helped it to setup 4G network in the past. CEO Mark Evans of O2 stated that they respect submissions of all three operators and decided to go ahead with their current network partners Nokia and Ericsson. This selection choice was made during the same period that UK formally announced its decision to desist from making a formal choice about allowing or banning Huawei from its 5 G networks.
United States government has been applying pressure on UK to exclude Huawei from all its networks stating that it is a security threat which has been vehemently denied by the firm. During April former UK PM Theresa May had stated that any network security threat can be managed. But the move by US to restrict its corporates from maintaining any business relations with Huawei and change of leadership in UK led to postponement of any decision. O2 elaborated that the presence of Huawei in the bidding process had helped it to get better rates from current suppliers and it has not closed the door on buying equipment in future from the Chinese firm.