Published On: Tue, Jul 23rd, 2019

Vodafone Goes Live on 5G in Seven UK Cities with the Help of Huawei

As the transition from 4G to 5G becomes widespread, many technologies will advance. It will provide greater streaming of 4K quality video, downloads of large files, and new capabilities with AI. Not only will it be much faster than anything previously, it will enable remote medical surgeries and the ability to communicate better at work with managers and other employees. It is no surprise then that the UK is trying to get ahead on the fifth generation mobile network, even if it means working with the Chinese firm Huawei, which has been criticized for its alleged cooperation with the Chinese government. 

photo/ Gerd Altmann

Vodafone & Huawei

Four of the United Kingdom’s major mobile networks, including Vodafone, have begun working with Huawei to set up a 5G network in the country. Though the government of the UK has yet to confirm whether they will make a deal with the controversial company will be allowed to build a new wireless infrastructure. None of this has stopped Three, O2, EE, and Vodafone working with Huawei. 

The specialists at the site MoneyPug, which is used for cheap mobile phones, say that Vodafone has gone live in seven cities across the UK, including Cardiff, Bristol, Manchester, London, Liverpool, and Glasgow. Huawei is also helping to build 5G sites for EE and has gotten contracts to build networks for the other two major mobile networks when they go live. 

The US & Huawei

These developments are not favorable for the United States, who has banned Huawei over concerns that the Chinese government is using the firm to spy on companies and government officials. With the US’s stance against Huawei, the pressure not to work with them is on the UK. The relations between the UK and China have also been strained due to the uncertainty over whether Huawei will play a role in the 5G mobile infrastructure in the UK. 

Huawei has denied these accusations, and the use of their services in parts of the UK’s network is a gamble for service providers. If the UK government folds on the pressure and bans Huawei’s involvement in the 5G network, it is widely seen that the costs will soar and leave the UK behind on the operational capabilities of 5G. 

The US wants allies to block the firm, referencing security risks, but Chinese ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming said he would guarantee that Huawei would not be able to pass on any intelligence they get from the 5G network. 

Pressure vs. Technology

While the US has put a lot of pressure on the UK not to allow Huawei into the 5G network, the push to get ahead is also prevalent. Offering speeds up to 100 percent times faster than 4G, the newest network will enable many advancements. Artificial intelligence will be greatly enhanced, robotics will be furthered, and automated cars will become more widespread. The internet of things will be supported and cities will be better connected. 

Expansion of 5G

Vodafone is looking to expand past the current cities that have gone live with 5G, The first twelve places that will follow suit will be Blackpool, Bournemouth, Birkenhead, Guildford, Newbury, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Reading, Southamption, Warrington, Stoke-on-Trent, and Wolverhampton. In addition to these towns in the UK, Vodafone is the only provider to offer 5G roaming in Italy, Spain, and Germany. 

As of now, Vodafone has launched three unlimited contracts that include SIM-free and 5G access starting at £23. The speed won’t be the best at first, which may disappoint some people looking for the hyped 5G speed. But as the network becomes more widespread, it will be much faster. 

Despite the US’s objections, it remains to be seen whether the UK will work with Huawei to establish a fast an effective 5G network across the country. It will provide many benefits, but it also lead to other complications as the true extent of the Chinese government’s surveillance comes into focus. As other companies get into 5G, no one knows for sure who will win out when it comes to the economic benefits the technological advancements will bring. With up to $12 trillion in economic advantages on the way, some will sacrifice privacy for opportunity. 


Ryan Beitler is a journalist and writer. He has been published in Paste Magazine, The Slovenia Times, New Noise Magazine, Deadline News, OC Weekly, and more.

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