Huawei Is Still Signing Up 5G Customers Despite US Pressure

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Huawei has been banned from doing business with US companies, but the Chinese corporation says it's still signing up 5G customers despite the Trump Ban.

That's the word from Huawei Deputy Chairman and Rotating CEO Ken Hu, who made the announcement at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Shanghai this week. "Globally we already have 50…commercial 5G contracts," Hu said, an increase of 10 additional contracts since March of this year.

More than half are with European carriers, leaving a substantial portion of contracts with American carriers. One example is Verizon, who Huawei is currently confronting about its $1 billion in 5G patent royalties for the use of its patented technology.

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of last month, it was reported that Huawei has 40 deals to deliver 45,000 5G base stations to the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK), a sign that Huawei's customer base isn't slowing down in the slightest. Profit from its networking gear increased by 20% at that time as well.

Earlier this year at MWC 2019, Huawei joined forces with LG Uplus to unveil 10,000 5G cell sites for South Korean customers. After being shut out of the American 5G network rollout last year, Huawei turned to business with Portugal, planning to cooperate with Dutch Telecom giant Altice to bring 5G to Portugal.

This is the same Altice that wants to purchase Sprint MVNO Boost Mobile as well as the offloaded airwave spectrum in the T-Mobile/Sprint merger case that would allow the merger to see FCC and DoJ approval.

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The US Government has put its companies as well as other countries on blast about doing business with Huawei, whether it be for networking gear or the use of its 5G technology. Last October, US Senators Marco Rubio and Mark R. Warner wrote a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressing concerns over Canada's willingness to do business with Huawei in building its 5G network.

Rubio and Warner argue that Huawei's heavy Communist Party influence and its state-directed nature make it a no-go for the rollout of next-generation wireless technology.

Japan has said as of six months ago that it would ban Huawei and ZTE from the 5G race in its country. In August 2018, the Australian Government banned Huawei from its 5G project, citing the security and protection of its telecom infrastructure as its reasons for doing so.

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Australia's 5G network ban on Huawei came just six months after the NSA and Department of Homeland Security chiefs warned Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to not enlist Huawei's help with its 5G network deployment, citing "Beijing cyber espionage" as one of the top cybersecurity risks.

While America's warning wasn't the deciding factor (rather, Australian intelligence confirmed much of what Washington had said on the matter), the American warning played a potential factor in Australia's decision. With Germany, however, the country has said it will not abandon business with Huawei "because it's from a certain country," Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel said. A US envoy threatened Germany over its continued use of Huawei networking and 5G technology just a few weeks prior, setting the stage for Merkel's comments after the fact.

UK authority and wireless operations unit the Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre (HCSEC) Oversight Board says that Huawei's software development practices are alarming and in greater need of increased security. According to its report, Huawei's telecom equipment suffers from many "underlying defects" both in software engineering and cybersecurity-related processes. The report confirmed what the HCSEC said the preceding year, yet Huawei had still done nothing to fix the equipment security issues.

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The US's campaign to shut out Huawei from global 5G networks has had mixed results, some success and some failure. One reason pertains to Huawei's stronghold over 5G technology globally, with the company's numerous patents (it holds 15% of all 5G patents globally) and billions of dollars of investment in the next-generation technology. Huawei is a formidable 5G player whose absence in 5G network deployment seems impossible and irreplaceable for many, prompting them to do business with the Chinese corporation despite the security risks.

Here in the US, carriers T-Mobile and Sprint have been told not to use Huawei's networking 5G equipment as they plan to merge (with FCC and DoJ approval necessary, of course). And yet, despite the Trump Ban, mobile companies Intel and Micron, among others, have started doing business with Huawei again due to certain business loopholes. Some telecom corporations and countries, rather than consider the security risks and privacy invasion, are doing what many do: put profit above people.

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Staff News Writer

Deidre Richardson is a tech lover whose insatiable desire for all things tech has kept her in tech journalism some eight years now. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she earned BA degrees in both History and Music. Since graduating from Carolina in 2006, Richardson obtained a Master of Divinity degree and spent four years in postgraduate seminary studies. She's written five books since 2017 and all of them are available at Amazon. You can connect with Deidre Richardson on Facebook.

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