Both EE and Vodafone have shunned Huawei equipment in Britain. However, Vodafone launched its service with Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 handsets along with Samsung S10 5G.
In a significant development, Vodafone launched its 5G network in 7 British cities with unlimited high speed data plans without any premium rates.
The development comes midst Deutsche Telekom announcement of a limited 5G rollout in Germany, thus stealing a march on competitors.
Offering unlimited data plans to both consumer and business customers would revolutionize the mobile market, said Nick Jeffery, CEO of Vodafone UK.
“We will give customers all the data they need, when and where they want it,” said Jeffery.
“Vodafone had examined how consumers used their devices and how it managed its network, including the efficiencies offered by 5G technology, before deciding to switch to unlimited data plans”, said Jeffery.
He went on to add, “We thought it was the right role for Vodafone to get back to its roots as a great British tech innovator”.
BT-owned EE, was the first to launch 5G commercially in Britain on May 30, 2019. EE offers a range of contract and sim-only deals for 5G.
“Let battle commence, Vodafone is looking to go toe-to-toe with EE,” said industry analyst Paolo Pescatore. “The scale of its ambitions should not be underestimated. 5G represents a significant opportunity to turn around its fortunes in the UK.”
He went on to add, the “5G market would see a further boost when Apple releases its first 5G device, most likely next year”.
Both EE and Vodafone UK have pulled 5G handsets made by Huawei from their launch line-ups following uncertainty about support from Google’s Android. The United States has also blocked the Chinese firm from accessing its technology. The status of the U.S. ban is unclear.
Vodafone launching its 5G service with the Samsung S10 5G, Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 and a 5G router.
Jeffery said Vodafone always complied with government guidance on its products and services.
“But if it’s possible for us to sell a wider range of 5G devices, particularly the Huawei one, we will,” said Jeffrey.
Although Vodafone uses a range of telecom equipment suppliers including Huawei and Ericsson in its network, it does not use Huawei equipment in its core network.
“Huawei is one third of our base stations, and the other two-thirds are other vendors,” said chief technology officer Scott Petty. “We like to use Huawei in base stations, they make great products and they work really, really well.”
Although Britain was set to allow Huawei in some parts of its 5G networks it has decided not to allow it in its intelligent core. But this decision has not been announced. Some politicians along with the U.S. are pushing for a far-reaching ban.
When asked on the possibility of a total ban, Jeffery said Britain had to grasp the opportunity to be a technology leader.
“Anything that slows us down is bad news for us all,” said Jeffery.