United States lawmaker proposes ban on Huawei and ZTE


Lawmakers lobbied AT&T to walk away this month from a deal to sell Huawei smartphones to USA customers, and companies with ties to Huawei and China Mobile, a state-run telecom and the world's largest mobile phone network operator, risk losing the ability to do business with the US government if they don't distance themselves from either, congressional aides told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Even if the bill passes, ZTE and Huawei will still be able to sell their smartphones and service in the United States without restrictions, but many companies that are doing business with the USA government will certainly avoid them. Even the use of Huawei handsets by AT&T's Cricket subsidiary is believed to be not acceptable.

"We hope that China and the United States can work hard together to maintain the healthy and stable development of trade and business ties", Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said at a briefing in Beijing.

Two unnamed congressional aides told the news service that lawmakers were concerned about security issues - namely, that Huawei's ties to the Chinese government could allow Beijing to collect data from its U.S. users.

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Texas representative Mike Conaway (R-TX 11th District) proposed a bill last week called the Defending U.S. Government Communications Act, which primarily aims to ban the U.S. government from buying or using any phones, telecommunications equipment, or services supplied by Huawei and ZTE.

"The next wave of wireless communication has enormous economic and national security implications". I realize the importance for national security, and the United States govt. doesn't want China tracking U.S. citizens, but Huawei phones are now available on basically all major carriers outside of the USA (45 of the world's top 50 carriers, to be exact) and there doesn't seem to be a major issue with that.

Huawei hasn't commented on this report but it did point out to the scribe that it sells its equipment through more than 45 of the top 50 carriers in the world and views the privacy and security of its customers as a top priority. -China Economic and Security Review Commission, which was set up by Congress.

Huawei and Chinese telecom firms have long struggled to gain a toehold in the US market, partly because of USA government pressure on potential USA partners. Republican Mike Conway who introduced the bill cites spying concerns, which are based on a report issued by the House Intelligence Committee in 2012 that tagged Huawei and ZTE a national threat.