In short: Huawei believes the 5G ban it has essentially been handed out in the United States won’t set an example for other countries to follow and has described the similar restrictions imposed on it by the Australian government as equally baseless and unconcerning. Company officials made those claims while arguing in favor of their 5G ambitions in South Korea where the tech giant wants to win contracts to supply local wireless carriers with next-generation wireless equipment. “Huawei never had a [security] problem,” a spokesperson said earlier this week, maintaining that both KT and LG U+ shouldn’t have any reservations about its products which are as safe as they can possibly be.
Background: LG U+ already uses Huawei-made equipment for its 4G LTE network launched in 2013, which the firm claims is evidence enough that its infrastructure is safe and not vulnerable to being used as a spying tool of the Chinese government, a possibility the Western intelligence community raised on numerous occasions over the course of this century. Recent reports suggested Canada, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom are all looking into limiting the company’s wireless business due to national security concerns but Huawei officials described those scenarios as “unrealistic.” UK security experts recently downgraded Huawei‘s recommendation rating, whereas Australia raised the standards bar for wireless equipment providers to the point that the firm essentially has no chance of contributing to the country’s 5G project.
Impact: The latest defense budget bill enacted by Capitol Hill in late summer barred government agencies from relying on Huawei’s equipment and a number of U.S. allies now appear to be following suit despite the company’s insistence that the situation is just business as usual. Huawei remains the world’s largest network hardware manufacturer and while the new development is unlikely to take that title away from it, it signals that its issues with Western administrations are far from over, especially as the trade war between Washington and Beijing wages on.