- Published: 11 January 2018 11 January 2018
Chinese social media is calling for a boycott of Apple in return.
The AT&T phone cancellation is just the latest unproven security accusation. A decade ago, I brought Huawei in to bid in a modest mobile network I was consulting on. We needed a better price for microwave backhaul gear; to get into the account Huawei came in about 30% lower for comparable equipment. Then the call came in to the company President from a Senator's aide. "Don't buy from Huawei," he said, and reminded the CEO how dependent the company was on government funding. There was no choice.
Since then, Huawei has been allowed to sell phones in the U.S. but not major networking equipment. It's somewhere between very difficult and impossible to use the phones covertly. There are dozens of Huawei phones and other products available at Amazon or Best Buy. Google phones are made by Huawei. There were no security issues raised, until Huawei committed to spending $100M on advertising to back up a large contract with AT&T. The ad at left is from the NY subway.
There is absolutely no public evidence that Huawei is a security risk. Their connection to the Chinese government is weaker than the connection between Lucent and the U.S. De facto, Ericsson & Nokia actively cooperate with the U.S. gov to assist surveillance. Although nothing is public, it's possible the "security issue" with Huawei is not that they leak to the Chinese but that they refuse to work with the U.S. NSA.
Richard Yu is correct, "“It’s a big loss for us, and also for carriers, but the more big loss is for consumers, because consumers don’t have the best choice." Keeping the worldwide #3 out of the U.S. market will cost consumers and the companies $100's of millions, I estimate.
Worldwide press reports are deeply critical.
Le Monde "Part of a climate hostile to Asian companies."
Forbes "Huawei—one of the world’s most successful information and communications technology companies—has been held accountable for the Chinese government’s transgressions (both real and imagined). Huawei has been crucified for the sins of its government ... protectionism is masquerading as a national security imperative" Dan Ikenson, a conservative commentator
Stern Yu "A superhero."
Repubblica "The commercial tensions between the United States and China had reached their peak"