Chinese telecommunications powerhouse Huawei is expected to receive another 90-day reprieve from US authorities according to reports in Washington.
The Trump administration blacklisted Huawei in May, citing national security concerns as the trade war between the US and China escalated. In August, it granted Huawei a 90-day license to continue operating in the United States in order to minimise consumer disruption.
As that license is about to expire reports from the capital are suggesting that the US will now grant the Chinese vendor another 90-day license over fears that rural carriers would be severely effected – as they are heavily dependent on Huawei’s for 3G and 4G networks.
The US Commerce Department declined to comment on the mounting speculation, although in an interview with Fox Business Network last week, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross highlighted the dependency of rural carriers on Huawei.
Ross said, “There are enough problems with telephone service in the rural communities – we don’t want to knock them out. So, one of the main purposes of the temporary general licenses is to let those rural guys continue to operate.”
The potential extension of the license is welcome news for Huawei but the long-running saga between Chinese telecommunication vendors and the US seems unlikely to find a resolution any time soon.
This was amplified following comments made by Attorney General William Barr last week, who said that neither Huawei or ZTE can be ‘trusted’.
He expressed his support for a proposal to prohibit rural US carriers from tapping into an $8.5 billion government fund to purchase equipment or services from either Chinese company.
Huawei is widely regarded as the leader in 5G technology, and despite a concerted campaign by the US to deter other countries from involving them in the buildout of their 5G networks, it appears to have failed.
Last week, Germany insisted that Huawei wouldn’t be excluded from its 5G networks, and other operators have been vocal in their support for the embattled ICT behemoth.