In the latest twist in US-Chinese relations, Trump has forced global mobile carriers to pick a side. As reported by LightReading, the Trump Administration has created a ‘clean’ list of global mobile carriers.
These are those that refuse to do “business with tools of the Chinese Communist Party’s surveillance state, like Huawei” according to Trump. The implication being that those not on this list are in some way ‘dirty’ companies.
It was well documented that Trump has forced TikTok to sell its U.S. operations in order to keep operating in the company. Oracle and Microsoft have both expressed interest in purchasing the American side of the company but have just 90 days to complete a deal.
Global carriers now with or against Trump
As part of this move, Trump has listed a number of carriers that are designated as ‘clean’. These include “Orange in France, Jio in India, Telstra in Australia, SK and KT in South Korea, NTT in Japan, and O2 in the United Kingdom”. Other clean telcos include Telefónica, NTT, Rakuten and Telekom Albania.
Japan’s SoftBank has also joined the anti-Huawei gang in support of Trump. In a statement, it said, “SoftBank is pleased to be recognized as a 5G Clean Telecommunications company”.
The statement was rather diplomatic and seemed sycophantic in construction. It went onto state, “SoftBank fully supports the Clean Network initiative of the US Department of State”. It also noted that the company would, “endeavor to build out 5G Clean Networks that use secure equipment from trusted network vendors.”
Checklist released for clean companies to follow
The US State Department has also released a 31 point checklist to become a clean carrier. Amongst the requirements is the need to be “financed openly and transparently, use best practices in procurement, investment, and contracting, and have records available for public or regulatory scrutiny as appropriate”.
The U.S. State Department says the requirements were made from Prague Proposal and 5G Toolbox. They have also created some short videos for the public can see the trusted companies.
This move adds another element to the already tense relationship between Trump and China. By publicly stating which companies are trustworthy Trump has moved into some new ground.
Reports suggest that this might actually work. Estimates and forecasts indicate that Huawei’s market share will decrease in the coming years. China’s 5G buildout has also stalled after U.S. restrictions on the Chinese companies.
However, in Africa, the State Department’s efforts have not been a success. A number of companies have rejected the move. Reports indicate that Huawei has not lost a single order in the region.
This saga will no doubt continue to rumble as Trump and his administration continue to put pressure on China. There is certainly some success for them but whether it is worth it, in the long run, may be another question.