Huawei has just experienced another setback in its efforts to partners with a major U.S. wireless carrier to sell its smartphones. Verizon was in discussions to sell smartphones from the Chinese OEM, but those talks have hit a brick wall. Huawei ran into similar trouble with AT&T earlier this year.
According to a new report from Bloomberg, U.S. lawmakers put pressure on both AT&T and Verizon to scrap any plans to sell Huawei smartphones to Americans. According to the government officials, there are serious concerns regarding Chinese spying and the possibility that backdoors could be installed on devices.
For its part, Huawei officials acknowledge that breaking into the U.S. market is a bit harder than previously expected. “The U.S. market presents unique challenges for Huawei, and while the Huawei Mate 10 Pro will not be sold by U.S. carriers, we remain committed to this market now and in the future,” said the company in a statement earlier this year following AT&T’s decision for to pull out of a deal.
At CES 2018, Huawei CEO Richard Yu reflected on his company’s troubles with U.S. wireless carriers. “Everybody knows that in the US market that over 90 percent of smartphones are sold by carrier channels,” said Yu. “It’s a big loss for us, and also for carriers, but the bigger loss is for consumers, because consumers don’t have the best choice.”
Yu went on to explain that Huawei has had to prove itself time and time again since its inception. “We win the trust of the Chinese carriers, we win the trust of the emerging markets,” said Yu. “And also we win the trust of the global carriers, all the European and Japanese carriers.” Unfortunately for Huawei, the U.S. government isn’t receptive to its advances.
Despite striking out with America’s two largest wireless carriers, the company is not completely out of the game. Major U.S. retailers including Best Buy, Amazon, Microsoft, Newegg, and B&H will sell the Mate 10 Pro starting on February 18th. Pre-orders for the smartphone will kick off on February 4th.
Back in 2012, both Huawei and ZTE were labeled as security threats to the U.S. by the House Intelligence Committee. “Neither company was willing to provide sufficient evidence to ameliorate the Committee’s concerns. Neither company was forthcoming with detailed information about its formal relationships or regulatory interaction with Chinese authorities,” wrote the congressional panel at the time.
“Huawei, in particular, failed to provide thorough information about its corporate structure, history, ownership, operations, financial arrangements, or management. Most importantly, neither company provided sufficient internal documentation or other evidence to support the limited answers they did provide to Committee investigators.”
More recently, the Trump administration has reportedly tossed around the idea of a nationalized 5G wireless network. The reason for such a network would be to fend off threats from countries like China and Russia. Cyberwarfare and cyberespionage are increasingly becoming problems in our always-connected world, and countries are looking for additional ways to fortify their defenses.