Vodafone Will Remove Huawei Equipment from Core Networks in Europe

Vodafone will remove Huawei technology from the core of its European networks following Britain’s decision to restrict the Chinese company’s role in 5G and new EU guidelines on the firm’s equipment, Chief Executive Nick Read said. “We have now decided, as a result of the EU toolbox and the UK government’s decision, to take out Huawei from the core,” he told reporters on Wednesday. “This will take around five years to implement at a cost of approximately 200 million euros,” he added.

Britain last month allowed Huawei a limited role in new mobile networks – defying U.S. pressure for an outright ban on security grounds – but excluded it from the core and imposed a 35% cap in the less-sensitive radio network. Huawei has repeatedly denied U.S. allegations that its equipment could potentially be used by Beijing for spying. Read said Vodafone would only have to make minor adjustments to comply with the rules in Britain, where it has not deployed Huawei equipment in its core network. He broadly welcomed the British approach, which he said was evidence based and differentiated between the core and non-core, but opposed caps on the use of particular vendors by operators.

“It hugely impacts customers and the quality of networks if we are forced to do an accelerated swap,” he said. “Although this isn’t an issue in the UK I wouldn’t want this for Europe.” He said it could lead to delays of anything between two and five years depending on which countries decided to impose a cap. “The U.S. is racing ahead, China is racing ahead,” he said. “We can’t hold back our 5G deployment and therefore I think caps would be restrictive on that basis.” In Germany, Vodafone’s largest European market, lawmakers have been arguing over Huawei for weeks.

Europe a slog

Earlier on Wednesday Vodafone reported organic service revenue growth of 0.8% in the third quarter, an uptick from the second, helped by continued recovery in South Africa. Europe, however, remained a slog for the world’s second biggest mobile operator, with organic service revenue down 1.4% year-on-year, the same rate seen in the previous quarter. “We expect a further gradual improvement in service revenue growth in Q4, led by Europe,” Read said. Shares in Vodafone were trading 1.4% higher at 0930 GMT.

Read is focusing Vodafone’s operations on two regions – Europe and sub-Sahara Africa – and last month the company agreed to sell its 55% stake in Vodafone Egypt for $2.4 billion to Saudi Telecom Company. The group also wants to generate more value from its network infrastructure. It has appointed the senior management team for its European tower company, Read said, and is preparing for a potential public listing in early 2021. Vodafone reiterated its full-year guidance of adjusted core earnings of 14.8-15.0 billion euros, and free cash flow before spectrum costs of about 5.4 billion euros.


Huawei Offered Limited 5G Participation in the UK by PM Boris Johnson

Prime Minister Boris Johnson granted Huawei a limited role in Britain’s 5G mobile network on Tuesday, frustrating a global attempt by the United States to exclude the Chinese telecoms giant from the West’s next-generation communications. Defying Britain’s closest ally in favour of China on the eve of Brexit, Johnson ruled that “high-risk vendors” such as Huawei would be allowed into the non-sensitive parts of the 5G network.

Whilst such high-risk companies’ involvement will be capped at 35 percent, they will be excluded from the sensitive core, where data is processed, and they will be banned from all critical networks and locations such as nuclear sites and military bases. Such an explicit rejection of US concerns that Huawei could be used to steal Western secrets was welcomed by the Chinese firm, founded in 1987 by a former People’s Liberation Army engineer, but dismayed the administration of US President Donald Trump.

Johnson and Trump spoke by phone shortly after the decision was made public. “The Prime Minister underlined the importance of like-minded countries working together to diversify the market and break the dominance of a small number of companies,” the British government said in a statement. Speaking before the call, a Trump administration official said: “There is no safe option for untrusted vendors to control any part of a 5G network.

“We look forward to working with the UK on a way forward that results in the exclusion of untrusted vendor components from 5G networks.” US congressional leaders widely criticized Britain’s decision, with powerful Republican Senator Lindsey Graham saying it could “greatly complicate” drawing up a new trade agreement after Britain exits the European Union on January 31.

A British official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said excluding Huawei would have delayed 5G and cost consumers more, echoing warnings from the telecoms industry. 5G’s much faster data speeds and increased capacity will make it the foundation stone of many industries and a driver of economic growth. In what some have compared to the Cold War antagonism with the Soviet Union, the United States is worried that 5G dominance is a milestone towards Chinese technological supremacy that could define the geopolitics of the 21st century.

But as a critical centre for Chinese investment, trading and banking in Europe, Britain sided with Beijing, in one of the biggest public breaks with Washington in decades. “I fear London has freed itself from Brussels only to cede sovereignty to Beijing,” said Senator Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican, adding there should be a review of intelligence sharing with Britain. Canada, which has yet to decide whether to allow the use of Huawei 5G technology, said it was studying Britain’s decision.

China vs the US

The United States had repeatedly warned London against allowing Huawei into 5G, arguing the distinction between “edge” and “core” will blur as data is processed throughout 5G networks, making it difficult to contain any security risks. “If Huawei is allowed into any part of your network, it is allowed into every part of your network,” said Tim Morrison, who until recently was a senior director at the White House’s National Security Council. Huawei, the world’s biggest producer of telecoms equipment, has said the United States wants to frustrate its growth because no US company could offer the same range of technology at a competitive price.

“This evidence-based decision will result in a more advanced, more secure and more cost-effective telecoms infrastructure that’s fit for the future,” Huawei’s vice president Victor Zhang told reporters. The only other large-scale telecoms equipment suppliers are Sweden’s Ericsson and Finland’s Nokia. Huawei has invested heavily to achieve market leadership, despite being excluded from US networks. Zhang said it spent $15 billion last year on research. In 2018, it committed to invest 3 billion pounds in Britain, a country Huawei views as a global innovation hub and strategic location, Zhang said.

Huawei UK vice president Jeremy Thompson said the 35 percent cap was “pretty much in line with its expectations”.”We welcome the diversity element and that’s what I’m sure our customers will be looking for as well,” he told reporters. Huawei has around a 35 percent share of the non-core 4G mobile network in Britain, a government document said last July.


Britain said the decision protected national security while delivering world-class connectivity. It said intelligence-sharing, including with the US-led ‘Five Eyes’ alliance, would not be jeopardized. “How we construct our 5G and full fibre public telecoms networks has nothing to do with how we will share classified data,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told lawmakers after a meeting of the UK’s National Security Council chaired by Johnson.

“Intelligence-sharing will not be put at risk…” British cyber security officials said they had put special measures in place to mitigate risks. “We’ve never ‘trusted’ Huawei and the (measures) you can see … exist because we treat them differently to other vendors,” Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), part of the GCHQ signals intelligence agency, said in a technical post. Huawei’s equipment is already used by Britain’s biggest telecoms companies such as BT and Vodafone, but it has been largely deployed at the edge of the network. Sources told Reuters last week that senior British officials had proposed granting Huawei a limited 5G role, a “calculated compromise” which could be presented to Washington as a tough restriction, while accepted by British operators.

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Huawei Set to Face 'Strict' 5G Rules in Europe, States EU Official

Huawei has been facing stiff opposition from USA, which is urging its allies to not conduct business with the Chinese electronics and technology behemoth

Representative image of Huawei's logo, in front of one of its facilities. (Photo: Reuters)
Representative image of Huawei’s logo, in front of one of its facilities. (Photo: Reuters)
The EU will not ban Chinese telecom giant Huawei or any other company in Europe, a top official said on Tuesday, despite intense pressure from Washington to shun the firm over spying fears. The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, will officially unveil recommendations to member states on Wednesday, but commissioner Thierry Breton told MEPs that Brussels will choose tight scrutiny over any blanket ban.

“It is not a question of discrimination, it is a question of laying down rules. They will be strict, they will be demanding and of course we will welcome in Europe all operators who are willing to apply them,” he said. The EU, while never explicitly naming the Chinese giant, is struggling to find a middle way to balance Huawei’s huge dominance in the 5G sector with security concerns pressed by Washington.

The proposal is part of a so-called “toolbox” of recommendations that will guide the EU’s 27 post-Brexit member states as they build crucial 5G networks. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is also expected on Tuesday to risk Washington’s anger with a similar decision to trust strict rules instead of a ban on Huawei. A ban on Huawei would ultimately be up to an individual member state, but the commission’s middle road recommendation gives cover to European capitals to resist pleas from Washington.

Huawei is one of the world’s leading network technology suppliers, and one of the few — along with European telecom companies Nokia and Ericsson — capable of building 5G networks. The United States sees the company as a potential threat to cybersecurity and fears it would facilitate cyber espionage by the Chinese government, to which it is said to have close links.


EU Wants a Common Charger For All Smartphones But Apple is Not Impressed

iPhone maker Apple on Thursday pushed back against EU lawmakers’ call for a common charger, warning the move could hamper innovation, create a mountain of electronic waste and irk consumers. Apple’s comments came a week after lawmakers at the European Parliament called for a common charger for all mobile phones and amended a draft law to say the ability to work with common chargers would be an essential requirement for radio equipment in the bloc.

A move to a common charger would affect Apple more than any other companies as its iPhones and most of its products are powered by its Lightning cable, whereas Android devices are powered by USB-C connectors.

“We believe regulation that forces conformity across the type of connector built into all smartphones stifles innovation rather than encouraging it, and would harm consumers in Europe and the economy as a whole,” Apple said in a statement.

It said regulation was not needed as the industry is already moving to USB-C through a connector or cable assembly. “We hope the (European) Commission will continue to seek a solution that does not restrict the industry’s ability to innovate,” Apple said.

A study by Copenhagen Economics commissioned by Apple showed that consumer harm from a regulatory-mandated move to a common charger would cost at least 1.5 billion euros, outweighing the 13 million euros in associated environmental benefits.

The European Commission, which acts as the executive for the EU, has been pushing for a common charger for more than a decade.

In 2009 it got four companies including Apple, Samsung, Huawei and Nokia to sign a voluntary memorandum of understanding to harmonize chargers for new models of smartphones coming into the market in 2011. The voluntary approach is not working and it is time to look into legislation, Commission officials said.

“A delegated act based on the Radio Equipment Directive (RED) is one of the options to be considered since it empowers the Commission to take a certain type of regulatory measures in this field,” one of the officials said. Another option was to pass legislation on the issue.

“…given the limitation in the scope of RED and of its empowerment, any action through the ordinary legislative procedure and/or through other instruments, such as implementing measures under the Eco-design Directive should be further explored and thoroughly assessed,” the official said. The Commission will publish a study around the end of the month or early February on the impact of a common charger.


Realme is Bringing its Fitness Band to India Next Month, Confirms CEO Madhav Sheth

The Realme fitness band will take on Xiaomi’s Mi Band series as well as Honor and Huawei’s own fitness trackers

Realme is Bringing its Fitness Band to India Next Month, Confirms CEO Madhav Sheth
Realme Fitness Band

(Image: Screen Grab/ Madhav Sheth/Realme/ YouTube)

Realme CEO Madhav Sheth has confirmed the first fitness band from the company will be launched in February. An exact launch date has not been announced yet but the company is expected to start teasing the arrival of the product by the end of this month, said Sheth in the latest Episode of ‘AskMadhav’ show on YouTube. The Realme fitness band will take on Xiaomi’s Mi Band series as well as Honor and Huawei’s own fitness trackers.

When asked about the potential launch date of the Realme X50 smartphone in India, Sheth said that something ‘much more powerful’ was lined up for India and have to wait till MWC Barcelona 2020 for the announcement. Additionally, he revealed that the yellow and black colour variants of the true wireless earbuds will be available next month and Android 10 for the Realme 5i will arrive in May 2020.

Recently, a new smartwatch from Realme was spotted on the Indonesian certification website. Though the certification ‘Brand’ section mentions the device as the Realme Band, the ‘Name’ section clearly puts in under the smartwatch category.


Huawei P40 Pro Could Have a Custom 52MP Sony Camera With 16-in-1 Tech

Huawei is likely to use the ‘Quad Quad Bayer’ sensor in the P40 Pro to perform 4-in-1 conversions to reach the 16-in-1 stage for underexposed videos and photos.

Representative image. (Photo: Reuters)
Representative image.

Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei’s upcoming smartphone P40 Pro is expected to launch in March 2020 and now a new report claims that the device may be equipped with a 52MP main camera design by Sony. This sensor will feature “16-in-1” technology and it is rumoured that the company will put the “Quad Quad Bayer” sensor which will perform 4-in-1 conversions to reach the 16-in-1 stage. This will only be used for videos and photos shot under very dark conditions.

An alleged leaked image for a protective case shared recently by prominent leaker OnLeaks claims that the P40 Pro may arrive with five rear cameras. The five snappers on its back would feature a main wide-angle lens, a cine lens, a ToF (Time of Flight) sensor, a periscope lens with support for 10x optical zoom, and either a telephoto lens with up to 9x optical zoom or an ultrawide lens.

The P40 Pro is rumoured to arrive with a screen measuring 6.5-inch to 6.7-inch and will sport rectangular camera modules at the back panel. Richard Yu, the head of Huawei’s consumer business recently revealed that the P40 series smartphones would run its own HarmonyOS operating system instead of Google’s Android. He also confirmed that the HarmonyOS is ready for smartphones but the company is waiting to see if the situation with the US changes.

In addition, Yu also revealed that Huawei has been considering selling its Kirin processors to other companies in industries such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and robotics. The company recently launched its latest Kirin 990 (5G) flagship chipset with an integrated 5G modem at the IFA 2019.


Huawei P40 Pro: Leaked Images Shows 5-Camera Rear Bump

The Huawei P40 Pro is likely to have a Leica-brand five-rear-camera setup with ultra-wide and telephoto lenses.

Huawei P40 Pro: Leaked Images Shows 5-Camera Rear Bump
Huawei P40 Pro Renders

(Image: Evan Blass/OnLeaks)

(Image: OnLeaks)

(Image: Twitter/ The Verge)

Earlier this week, notable tech leaker Evan Blass tweeted an image of what is purportedly Huawei’s upcoming flagship P40 Pro, revealing its ceramic body and 6-part rear camera bump. Huawei’s P40 Pro appears to be the latest device made by the company to get images of it leaked ahead of the official release later this year. The leak comes from the consistently accurate tech leaker Evan Blass, who posted an image of the device from all angles to Twitter.

Instead of a notch, the display houses its dual front cameras in an oval-shaped cutout situated in the top left corner of the screen. The top and bottom edges have nearly nonexistent bezels while those on the left and right disappear thanks to the screen curving backwards in a fashion similar to Samsung’s latest flagships.

The flashiest component of the device, however, can be found on the rear side. In the top left corner of the backside, there’s a camera bump appearing to consist of six components, five of those being lenses, bringing the total number of cameras on the phone up to seven. Leica’s brand name can be seen between the lenses.

Blass goes on to confirm that this device will feature a ceramic body much like the Galaxy S10+.

It’s been rumoured that the device will have 10x optical zoom and a periscope telephoto lens. Of course, due to the US blacklisting, despite this multitude of lenses, it won’t have a single Google-based application. Nevertheless, the phone’s owners could still use an open-source version of the Android operating system.

Huawei’s P40 and P40 Pro flagship smartphones are slated to launch in Paris this March.


Huawei Will Get TomTom Navigation Since The U.S. Would Not Let Them Use Google Maps

The deal with TomTom gives Huawei access to navigation apps and services for its own smartphone operating system.

Huawei Will Get TomTom Navigation Since The U.S. Would Not Let Them Use Google Maps
The deal with TomTom gives Huawei access to navigation apps and services for its own smartphone operating system.

Dutch navigation and digital mapping company TomTom said it has closed a deal with China’s Huawei Technologies for the use of its maps and services in smartphone apps. Huawei was forced to develop its own operating system for smartphones, after it was effectively blacklisted by U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration last year out of concerns over national security. This banned Huawei from using Google’s official Android operating system, along with widely used apps such as Google Maps, in new phones. The deal with TomTom means Huawei can now use the Dutch company’s maps, traffic information and navigation software to develop apps for its smartphones.

TomTom spokesman Remco Meerstra said the deal had been closed some time ago but had not been made public by the company. Meerstra declined to provide further details of the agreement. TomTom, which is moving away from selling devices to offering software services, sold its telematics division to Japan’s Bridgestone last year to focus on its digital map-linked businesses.


Republic Day Sale: Huawei P30 Lite at Rs 7,000 Discount, and Other Deals

Huawei has announced a series of discounted deals in light of the upcoming 71st Indian Republic Day. The limited time discounts will run from today, January 19 to Wednesday, January 22. Spearheading the discounted product list is the Huawei P30 Lite – the budget variant of Huawei’s 2019 flagship phone, which is being sold at a discount of Rs 7,000 during the sale. At present, the Huawei P30 Lite is priced at Rs 12,990, and the price will remain effective throughout the sale.

Huawei is also offering a Rs 4,000 discount on the Huawei Y9, which now sells at Rs 11,990. This is joined by the Huawei MediaPad T5-10, a 10.1-inch tablet with 4G support. The tablet gets a Rs 2,000 discount, giving it a price of Rs 10,990. Huawei is also offering the MediaPad M5 Lite as a Flipkart-exclusive product, which gets a Rs 3,000 discount to be priced at Rs 17,990 during the sale. The rest of the above mentioned products, barring M5 Lite, are all available on Amazon India.

Other products with eligible discounts include three variants of the Huawei Watch GT2, and three variants of the Watch GT – Sports, Active and Classic. With a discount of Rs 1,000, the Watch GT2 now begins at Rs 14,990 for the Sport variant, and goes up to Rs 20,990 for the Watch GT2 Metal. The three Watch GT variants, meanwhile, get Rs 2,000 off, and cost Rs 8,990 for Sports and Active, and Rs 10,990 for the Classic variant.

The offers on the Huawei products are spread across Amazon and Flipkart as deals exclusive to the two e-commerce platforms, so interested users should check both the online stores before making their purchases.


Huawei to Shift Focus from 5G to Self-Driving Cars, Inspired by Tesla

Huawei will not build its own autonomous vehicles but instead, use its 5G expertise to collaborate with automakers to build driverless connected cars.

Huawei to Shift Focus from 5G to Self-Driving Cars, Inspired by Tesla
Image for Representation

(Image: AFP Relaxnews)

Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei is currently making a big push towards the 5G industry, but it is also reportedly planning to assist in building self-driving cars. “Our ultimate goal is to achieve complete driverless news, but in the process of moving towards the ultimate goal, it can create value. At present, Tesla is already creating value for everyone, if Tesla can do it now, we can all do it,” the report quoted rotating Huawei chairman Xu Zhijun.

However, the company does not want to make their own cars but will help car companies build good cars through collaboration. Currently, the smartphone manufacturer is using its expertise in 5G together with SAIC and China Mobile to build 5G connected cars. As per a report, these cars have 5G/LTE-V capabilities, support C-ITS assisted driving functions, feature intelligent voice interactions and even have live video calling functions built-in.

Recently, the company announced that it has shipped 6.9 million units of 5G smartphones as of December 2019, in addition to offering end-to-end 5G solutions. In 2019, Huawei brought 5G to consumers through the launch of eight 5G smartphones: Huawei Mate 30 Pro 5G, Mate 30 5G, Mate 20 X (5G), Nova 6 5G, Mate X, Honor V30 Pro and Honor V30.