LONDON (AFP) - British mobile phone operator EE on Thursday (May 30) became the first in the country to launch a high-speed 5G network, but without smartphones from controversial Chinese technology giant Huawei.
EE, which is a division of British telecoms giant BT, has launched 5G in six major cities comprising Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London and Manchester - and more hubs will follow, it said in a statement.
Next-generation 5G mobile networks offer almost instantaneous data transfer that will become the nervous system of Europe's economy in strategic sectors like energy, transport, banking and healthcare.
EE announced last week that it would make its 5G network available to the public - but would not sell Huawei's first 5G phone, the Mate 20 X 5G.
However, the Chinese company still provides 5G wireless network infrastructure equipment to EE.
Rival British mobile phone giant Vodafone will launch its own 5G services on July 3 in seven UK cities - but it has also paused the sale of the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G smartphone.
Huawei faces pushback in some Western markets over fears that Beijing could spy on communications and gain access to critical infrastructure if allowed to develop foreign 5G networks offering instantaneous mobile data transfer.
US Internet titan Google has meanwhile started to cut ties between its Android operating system and Huawei, a move that affects hundreds of millions of smartphone users.
That decision comes amid a trade war between United States and China.