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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Huawei’s mystery phone shows wireless speeds as fast as Apple

Icons for Google applications are displayed on a Huawei Technologies smartphone in Hong Kong on May 20, 2019.  (Justin Chin/Bloomberg )
By Vlad Savov Bloomberg

Huawei Technologies’ latest smartphone clearly demonstrates wireless speeds akin to Apple’s latest iPhones in numerous tests, as more details emerge about a gadget labeled a Chinese breakthrough despite U.S. tech sanctions.

Testing by Bloomberg News of Huawei’s new $900-plus flagship model shows bandwidth similar to other 5G phones.

That aligned with blog posts and videos on Chinese social media that claimed the device came with 5G capabilities.

The gadget, which went on sale this week without the typical fanfare of a product launch, fanned patriotic fervor as it was seen to represent China’s ability to get around U.S. sanctions.

Shenzhen-based Huawei has been at the center of intensifying U.S. trade curbs on Chinese businesses, which American officials say are based on national security concerns.

The Mate 60 Pro achieved speeds in excess of 350Mbps or megabits-per-second in testing on China Mobile’s network in Hong Kong.

Videos posted to the Weibo social service showed the handset approaching 1Gbps or gigabit-per-second.

It remains unclear which chips Huawei used in its phone, a critical component for wireless connectivity.

Analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein including Mark Li said that teardowns suggest the speeds were accomplished with advanced packaging and other steps that could lead to extra power consumption.

The chips may have higher costs than comparable silicon available outside of China, but Huawei may simply absorb the additional expenses, they wrote.

Berenberg analysts Tammy Qiu and Meha Pau said they believed top Chinese chipmaker Semiconductor Manufacturing International manufactured the radio chip based on 14nm or more advanced technology.

Huawei said the Mate 60 Pro is “the most powerful Mate model ever,” but declined to comment on the specifications of its processor or where and when it was made.

Its interface, built on Huawei’s in-house Harmony OS, omits mention of the wireless standard.