UK, Japan mobile operators suspend Huawei 5G phone launches
LONDON -- British and Japanese mobile phone companies said Wednesday they're putting on hold plans to sell new devices from Huawei, in the latest fallout from U.S. tech restrictions aimed at the Chinese company.
Britain's EE and Vodafone and Japan's KDDI and Y! Mobile said they are pausing the launch of Huawei smartphones, including some that can be used on next generation mobile networks, amid uncertainty about devices from the world's No. 2 smartphone maker.
The U.S. government last week restricted technology sales to Chinese telecom gear suppliers because of alleged security risks, though a 90-day grace period was given to telecom carriers to let them find other suppliers. The sales ban is part of a broader trade war between Washington and Beijing.
Vodafone said in a statement that it's "pausing pre-orders" for the Mate 20X, Huawei's first phone for 5G networks, as "a temporary measure while uncertainty exists regarding new Huawei 5G devices."
EE CEO Marc Allera said sales would not resume until it gets "the information and confidence and the long-term security" that customers will be supported over the device's lifetime. The company was also set to sell the Mate 20X followed by Huawei's Mate X folding handset.
EE said it's working with Huawei and Google to make sure it "can carry out the right level of testing and quality assurance."
Y! Mobile, owned by Japanese technology company Softbank, said sales of the Huawei P30 lite, set for May 24, have been delayed, and advance orders were canceled.
SoftBank spokesman Hiroyuki Mizukami said the company wants its "customers to feel safe using our products."
KDDI also indefinitely delayed its sales, initially set for late May.
It's unclear when the companies would lift the sales freezes.