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New bill proposes ban on HUAWEI and ZTE telecoms services in the US

The bill would prevent the US government from working with service providers that use HUAWEI or ZTE equipment "for security reasons."

Published onJanuary 12, 2018

  • A US bill has been proposed that would ban HUAWEI and ZTE services in the US.
  • It points to several reports on the potential threat the Chinese manufacturers pose to national security.
  • The news follows soon after HUAWEI mobile chief Richard Yu discussed the company’s commitment to security on stage in Las Vegas.

HUAWEI was recently dealt a heavy blow with regards to US support, and the situation may be about to get worse for the Chinese manufacturer. U.S. Representative Michael Conaway has proposed a new bill (via TechCrunch) that would ban the U.S. government “from working with service providers that use any equipment from [HUAWEI or ZTE] for security reasons.”

HUAWEI has battled accusations that it poses a US national security threat for several years, while Chinese company ZTE has also come under fire for its international practices. The new proposal, submitted January 9, points to several previous reports on HUAWEI’s activities by US agencies, which suggest that HUAWEI’s alleged affiliation with the Chinese government could be a danger.

The bill proposes a ban on the following in an effort to stave-off potential threats:

  • Telecommunications equipment produced by HUAWEI Technologies Company or ZTE Corporation (or any subsidiary or affiliate of such entities).
  • Telecommunications services provided by such entities or using such equipment.
  • Telecommunications equipment or services produced or provided by an entity that the head of the relevant agency reasonably believes to be an entity owned or controlled by, or otherwise connected to, the government of a covered foreign country.

This bill is in its earliest stages at the moment and there’s much red tape to get through before it would be actualized (it needs approval from the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform — whose hands it’s currently in — before moving on to the Senate, and later, the President). But it compounds the notion that HUAWEI is bad news for the US, which will be particularly disappointing to its mobile division lead Richard Yu, who spoke on stage about the company’s commitment to security at CES only a few days ago.

Meanwhile, TechCrunch says The U.S. Commerce Department is also “looking into” HUAWEI’s operations in Syria, Cuba, Iran and Sudan.

As the world’s third-biggest smartphone manufacturer and the biggest seller of telecoms equipment, there’s little doubt HUAWEI could have a significant impact in America if it was permitted to conduct its business with the government’s backing. For now, it will have to rely on selling unlocked devices through online channels.

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