The Huawei ban is still in full effect, despite rumblings that some doors might be opened soon. In the meantime, Huawei 5G technology could still make it to the United States via a workaround: by licensing patents out to foreign companies.
According to a Huawei executive speaking with Reuters, the Chinese company is currently in talks with various US-based firms regarding patent licensing for 5G technology. However, the source of this information — Vincent Pang, a senior vice president and board director at the company — wouldn’t disclose which companies, how many there are, or any details of the talks.
“There are some companies talking to us, but it would take a long journey to really finalize everything,” Pang explained. “They have shown interest,” he added, noting that talks are at a very early stage currently, so there’s not much to divulge.
The Huawei ban pertains specifically to US-based companies buying or selling products from or to Huawei. However, licensing Huawei 5G technology to US firms would be a clever workaround, as the ban likely wouldn’t apply. Of course, the US government could change the rules and stop even patent licensing, but that is unlikely.
Related: What is 5G?
The real problem with the plan, though, is the feasibility. Even if a US-based firm got ahold of Huawei 5G patents and then used them to create a product, what would then happen if the firm faced issues with that product? Additionally, the research and development needed to take that patent, implement it into a product, and then improve that product over time would be very costly.
To his credit, Pang admitted as much to Reuters. However, the company is looking into every opportunity it can while the ban is in effect.
Huawei 5G technology is widely considered the best in the world. It is also cheaper in most situations than leading competitor products from Nokia and Ericcson.