By Adria Calatayud
U.K. cellphone carriers BT Group PLC's (BT.A.LN) EE and Vodafone Group have both suspended their launches of Huawei Technologies Co. 5G phones, dealing another blow to the Chinese company mired in a vortex of espionage allegations and cybersecurity fears.
EE last week had said it would bring the Chinese company's first 5G-ready handset to the U.K., but on Wednesday said it decided to hold the launch of the new Huawei handsets, as BT's consumer brand prepares to roll out next-generation networks in six British cities on May 30.
Vodafone on Wednesday said it is pausing pre-orders for a Huawei 5G smartphone model in the U.K.
"This is a temporary measure while uncertainty exists regarding new Huawei 5G devices. We will keep this situation under review," a Vodafone spokesperson said.
The moves follow last week's decision by the U.S. Commerce Department to put Huawei on a trade blacklist that threatens to cut if off from the American technology the Chinese group relies on for its smartphones. U.S. officials had said Monday they would waive that measure for 90 days for some suppliers, including Alphabet Google.
"We're working with Huawei and Google to make sure we can carry out the right level of testing and quality assurance so our customers have a great experience with any smartphones we range in the future," an EE spokesperson said.
Huawei didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
EE said it will switch on its 5G networks in six U.K. cities--London, Birmingham, Cardiff, Manchester, Edinburgh and Belfast--next week. The company said consumers and businesses can start pre-ordering new 5G-ready devices from Huawei rivals Samsung Electronics Co, LG Electronics, OnePlus and Oppo.
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