News Feature | January 28, 2020

The Week in 5G: 1/28/2020 —UK Welcomes Limited Huawei Relationship; Germany Considers Same; U.S. Lawmakers Propose $1B Domestic 5G Investment

By Ed Biller


The United States continues to wage war against Chinese tech companies, even as U.S. allies have taken a more pragmatic approach.

Per a report by SDxCentral, “a group of U.S. senators [in early January] introduced a bill that would funnel more than $1 billion into 5G-related research and development in open [radio access network] RAN technologies that could elevate U.S. companies as an alternative to Huawei and ZTE.”

The outlet names Airspan Networks, Altiostar, JMA Wireless, Mavenir, and Parallel Wireless as among the U.S.-based RAN vendors who could benefit from this initiative.

Across the pond, British officials have approved allowing Huawei as a vendor participating in the nation’s 5G network buildout, despite U.S. pressure to cut the Chinese company out of its development plans. The U.S. considers Huawei to pose a security risk and has long cited its ties to China's Communist Party and possible links to the military.

The U.K. will not allow Huawei equipment’s use in "sensitive 'core' parts of 5G" and other high-speed networks reports NPR. “It will also cap the involvement of Huawei and other ‘high-risk’ vendors at 35 percent of non-sensitive parts of Britain's network.”

In Germany, German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed from the World Economic Forum last week that “shunning one supplier altogether risks being counterproductive” and is no guarantee of security. 

Further, Al Jazeera reports “German operators are all Huawei customers and have warned that banning the Chinese vendor would add years of delays and billions of dollars in costs to the launch of 5G networks.”

In the Czech Republic, that nation’s telecoms watchdog chief has resigned over government changes to a planned auction of frequencies in the 700 MHz and 3.5 GHz bands for 5G telecoms networks. Czech Telecommunication Office (CTU) chief Jaromir Novak said the last-minute changes “could put off bidders and delay 5G technology,” reports Reuters.

The Czech government countered Novak, stating that auction changes had been made in an attempt to remedy a lack of bidder interest – both foreign and domestic.

In other 5G network news, Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon, predicted during an interview at the World Economic Forum that, "We should see 5G in all metropolitan areas in the United States, as well as in China, Korea, Japan, and Europe towards the end of 2020.”

In 5G tech news, if you’re looking for a bargain basement price on a 5G-capable cell phone to take advantage of all this coverage, look no further than the Mi Mix 3 5G by China’s Xiaomi. Per TechRadar, “the official Xiaomi store sells the device for $289 (with 64 GB storage) and $309 for the 128 GB version,” but “don’t expect anything to rival it for value in 2020 - it's a very recent flagship being retired early for strategic reasons.”

TechRadar cites its official review of the product, as well: “If you can get past the fact the Mi Mix 3 5G will accidentally slide open and start doing stuff when you take it out of your pocket every so often, it’s a great phone and among the most affordable 5G options around.”