Huawei's stand at the 2019 Mobile World Congress. Photo: dpa / Andrej Sokolow

Adding to the bad news already floating around Huawei, South Korea’s three mobile carriers have expressed reservations about selling the Chinese company’s 5G smartphone.

In a telephone conversation with Asia Times on Thursday, an official from SK Telecom was particularly negative, saying, “We have not considered the sale of Huawei’s 5G phone.”

However, KT and LG Upus seem to be more cautious, arguably due to their closer relationship with Huawei. KT is currently selling Huawei’s LTE phones, and LG Uplus use Huawei’s equipment for the 5G network.

“The release of the terminal is a matter of deciding in cooperation with the manufacturer,” a KT official said to Asia Times. ”However, there are no Huawei handsets scheduled to sell at the moment.”

An LG Uplus official also said to Asia Times, “No decision has been made yet because Huawei has not launched 5G phone yet.” He meant the firm needs to see how well the Huawei 5G phone works before they decide to sell it.

Several mobile service providers in the UK and Japan have said they may not offer Huawei phones to 5G customers. EE and Vodafone’s British unit said they would not provide Huawei phones to 5G customers, while Japan’s top three carriers are considering similar moves.

The Chosun Ilbo, a Korean newspaper, reported that a US State Department official told a South Korean Foreign Ministry official that LG Uplus should not provide mobile service in sensitive areas. “We need to finally get Huawei out of the country, if not right now,” the US official was quoted as saying.

In response to this report, LG Uplus said, “We are currently using European equipment from LTE to 5G in areas where the US military is stationed.”

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