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5G networks

Huawei opens London 5G center as UK weighs ban

R&D hub meant to foster ties with British companies

Huawei at the World 5G Exhibition in Beijing in November. The U.K. has yet to decided whether to ban the Chinese company's equipment from its fifth-generation wireless infrastructure.   © Reuters

GUANGZHOU -- Huawei Technologies has set up a fifth-generation wireless research and development center in the U.K., amid an ongoing debate over whether the Chinese company's equipment should be allowed in British 5G infrastructure.

The 5G Innovation and Experience Center, which opened Monday in London, aims to promote 5G-related R&D by local companies. It also gives consumers demonstrations of services enabled by the superfast, low-lag technology, such as cloud-based gaming and telemedicine.

"What we have opened today will enable true collaboration amongst U.K. businesses and technologists and showcase the huge potential of 5G applications for both the private and business sectors," Jerry Wang, CEO of Huawei's British arm, said in a statement.

Huawei opened a similar facility in Switzerland in October and has teamed up with local companies for 5G-related research. It hopes to use the new center to build deeper partnerships with businesses in the U.K. as well.

Huawei has signed more than 60 commercial 5G contracts worldwide, more than half of which are believed to be in Europe. The 5G network that Vodafone Group launched in the U.K. in July includes some Huawei equipment.

The U.S. has pressured allies to keep Huawei gear out of their 5G networks, citing security concerns. The U.K. is still weighing the issue, with the government yet to give a clear answer.

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