Three is to choose Ericsson over Huawei for its 5G network in Ireland, Independent.ie understands.
The move is a blow for Huawei, which has been fighting US accusations of being too close to Chinese authorities.
It also represents a competitive coup for Ericsson, which supplies the core equipment for Vodafone’s Irish 5G network, giving it two out of three Irish 5G networks.
Eir Mobile uses a combination of Ericsson and Huawei for its 5G mobile network.
Last week, Independent.ie revealed that Three would delay its 5G rollout in Ireland until early 2020.
Spokespeople for Three and Huawei declined to comment on the issue.
The news will be carefully examined across Europe, the US and China. Huawei has become caught in the middle of a global trade and security face-off between the American and Chinese governments.
US officials accuse the company of being too easily influenced by Beijing authorities and say that 5G mobile networks are critical infrastructure from a security perspective.
However, Huawei executives insist that there has never been any evidence of misbehaviour and that the company is being used as a scapegoat for larger geopolitical tensions between the US and China.
European governments, which have so far resisted US efforts at restricting Huawei’s telecoms networks, are starting to focus more on the issue with French president Emmanuel Macron recently bringing attention to the matter in an interview with the Economist magazine.
In Ireland, Eir Mobile has approximately 100 different 5G sites around Irish cities and towns, while Vodafone has fewer in the same cities.
The main difference between 5G and 4G is speed and latency, with 5G coverage able to download large files almost instantly or stream high resolution video without any delays or buffering.
5G speeds can reach up to 1,000Mbs compared to around 100Mbs for 4G.
Other than information and entertainment, 5G is seen as being important for future industry and commercial needs, such as self-driving cars and advanced telemedicine.
Existing 4G phones, such as the iPhone 11, will not be able to pick up a 5G signal.
In Ireland there are only a few handset models capable of receiving a 5G signal. Huawei launched its Mate 20X 5G here, a giant 7.2-inch smartphone. Samsung also has three 5G-compatible models, the S10 5G, A90 5G and Note 10+ 5G.
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