Spain became one of the first European countries to roll out a 5G network as Vodafone Spain commercially launched the service in 15 cities, including Madrid and Barcelona, in cooperation with Chinese telecom giant Huawei.
The local carrier of the world’s second-largest mobile operator Vodafone became the first to launch the superfast mobile phone network, which promises download speeds of up to one gigabit per second, in the Spanish market on Saturday. Apart from the Spanish capital and the capital of the country’s autonomous region, the services will also be available in Valencia, Malaga, Seville, Zaragoza, San Sebastian, Bilbao, Vitoria, La Coruna, Vigo, Gijon, Pamplona, Santander, and Logrono.
The company uses equipment from both Swedish manufacturer Ericsson and Huawei, which has put been put on US’ “entity list,” severely restricting American companies from trading with the Chinese tech firm.
Before Spain, only two European countries had commercialized 5G: Switzerland and the UK. However, Washington has already been pushing its allies to drop Huawei technology on the 5G rollout, citing security concerns. Despite US pressure, British lawmakers have not barred Huawei from participating its fifth-generation network to date, but mobile operators EE and Vodafone have already dropped Huawei phones from their 5G launch plans.
Meanwhile, telecom company Sunrise announced the first 5G smartphone in Switzerland in partnership with Huawei.
Vodafone CEO Nick Read earlier warned that banning Huawei from Europe’s 5G networks would be harmful for operators and consumers, and might delay its rollout by “probably two years.”
“It structurally disadvantages Europe. Of course, the US don’t have that problem because they don’t put Huawei equipment in,” Read said.
The US crackdown on China’s Huawei came amid a simmering trade row between the world’s two biggest economies. The Trump administration has accused the tech giant of spying for the Chinese government, a claim which the company strongly denies. After the telecom giant was blacklisted by Washington, Beijing threatened to sanction a similar list of companies that harm the interests of Chinese business.