UK telecom operator Vodafone launched its 5G network services in 15 Spanish cities, including Madrid and Barcelona, on Saturday in cooperation with Chinese tech company Huawei Technologies Co, despite the US’ crackdown on the world’s largest telecom equipment maker.
Vodafone said the move makes Spain one of a handful of countries in the world to commercialise the superfast technology and its 5G network will offer download speeds of up to one gigabits per second.
A Vodafone spokesman previously told AFP the company will use telecom gear from Huawei and the Swedish manufacturer Ericsson to distribute the mobile service which would eventually power critical applications such as autonomous driving or remote surgeries in the future.
The development came shortly after Huawei devices were used for the first 5G live-streaming in the UK in May.
By June 6, Huawei had 46 commercial contracts for 5G networks in 30 countries worldwide. The increasing number of orders demonstrate Huawei’s technological prowess in 5G, said Xiang Ligang, director-general of the Information Consumption Alliance, a telecom industry association.
Huawei has invested about $2 billion in total into the research and development of 5G since 2009. The company’s founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei said in an earlier interview that others will definitely not be able to catch up with Huawei in 5G technologies over the next two to three years.
Huawei is facing a campaign from the US government, which accuses the company of posing risks to its national security. Huawei has repeatedly denied the accusations and said these claims are not supported by factual evidence.
Washington banned Huawei from buying any US technology without special approval in May. Swiss investment bank UBS said in a research report that the US government’s restrictions on Huawei would hold back earnings in the tech sector across the world.
Assuming the US government’s restrictions stay in place, UBS estimated that US tech players’ earnings would decline by a low-single digit percentage, given the close business connections of US companies with Huawei.
The Asian tech sector would see mid-single digit percentage losses, although the impact would be neutral for Europe’s tech industry, the bank predicted.