The world’s third largest smartphone manufacturer was reportedly mere weeks away from kicking off sales of its latest flagship model through the number two US cellular company when AT&T caved in under pressure from the FCC and members of Congress.
But said lawmakers may not be content just derailing Huawei’s near-settled Mate 10 carriage deals with both AT&T and Verizon, as two congressional aides quoted by Reuters claim the political pressure is mounting on “Ma Bell” to cut all “commercial ties” to Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.
That includes both the Chinese tech giant’s consumer business and its similarly thriving networking equipment division, the latter of which has ongoing collaborations with no less than 45 of the world’s 50 largest wireless carriers.
AT&T is probably at or near the top of that partner list, raising concerns among senators and House members that Huawei will help roll out the nation’s first “true” mobile 5G service later this year.
The fear is Chinese government intelligence will gain access that way to sensitive and private information about US phone users for many years to come. Of course, Huawei has firmly rejected all cyber-spying accusations officially and unofficially brought against the company starting with a wide-reaching 2012 investigation.
Still, “China’s participation in setting the standards” for 5G technology and selling equipment needed to generate “the next wave of wireless communication”, with “enormous economic and national security implications”, is considered a risk by Michael Wessel, a member of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, among others.
That doesn’t really explain why US lawmakers reportedly want AT&T to also stop selling Huawei phones on prepaid subsidiary Cricket Wireless, but it is what it is, and Samsung and Apple’s top rival might just have to give up its American business (almost) altogether. Oh, and China Mobile, which apparently applied for a US license way back in 2011, waiting to hear from the FCC since then, is unlikely to be granted entry either.