Telus, Huawei test fixed wireless 5G services in Vancouver amid U.S. security concerns

Telus is testing its service in Vancouver. (Image: gtriay/Pixabay)

Canadian operator Telus and Chinese equipment vendor Huawei said they are testing a fixed wireless service using 5G technology in Telus’ “5G Living Lab” in Vancouver.

“It is compliant with the global 5G 3GPP standard and is believed to be the first trial of its kind in North America, and among the first globally,” Huawei noted in a release. The company added that the test is working in the 28 GHz band with 800 MHz of bandwidth and leverages technologies including massive MIMO, F-OFDM and Polar Code.

“This trial represents continued progress toward the launch of 5G, as we start to replicate both the in-home experience and network footprint we will see when 5G becomes commercially available in the near future,” said Ibrahim Gedeon, CTO at Telus, in a Huawei release. “Wireless 5G services will generate tremendous benefits for consumers, operators, governments and more through the use of advanced IoT devices, big data applications, smart city systems and other technologies of the future.”

Telus is joining Verizon in the United States in using 5G for fixed wireless applications. For its part, Verizon has said it plans to deploy fixed wireless services in 3 to 5 cities this year with an eventual goal of expanding it to around 30 million households. (Verizon’s CEO recently admitted though that the company would eventually have to replace its proprietary V5GTF equipment with 5G equipment that adheres to the 3GPP’s recently completed 5G standard.)

Verizon said its fixed wireless transmissions in millimeter wave spectrum will reach around 2,000 feet and provide each of its customers with 1 Gbps services.

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But the testing between Huawei and Telus is particularly noteworthy considering the U.S. government’s ongoing security concerns about Chinese vendors including Huawei. Specifically, Huawei has been effectively banned from the U.S. market following a 2011 government report that recommended U.S. companies avoid using equipment from Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE due to national security concerns. More recently, both Verizon and AT&T dropped plans this year to sell smartphones from Huawei, a situation mentioned by Huawei’s CEO as a “big loss” during the recent CES show in Las Vegas. And just this week six of the nation’s top intelligence chiefs told a Senate committee that they would recommend that Americans not use products and services from Chinese companies like ZTE and Huawei for fear of espionage.

But those concerns apparently don’t stretch across the U.S. border to Vancouver. Indeed, Huawei remains the world’s leading wireless network equipment vendor, which it pointed out in a statement to CNBC that it provides products and services to governments and customers in 170 countries.