Intelligence agency chiefs, politicians, and pundits have long voiced concern about the potential for Chinese device and network suppliers to spy on foreign governments like the U.S. Nonetheless, Huawei in recent years has quickly assumed market share leadership positions in the smartphone and various network technology categories.
But as connected technology has become mainstream and 5G is poised to usher in even greater reliance on it by automating vital infrastructure and enabling driverless cars, alarm bells over Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE (News - Alert) are growing louder. The concern is that using gear from such companies, which have close ties to the Chinese government, could create cybersecurity risks.
That’s led President Trump to consider banning the sale of Huawei and ZTE technology in the U.S.; AT&T to drop a smartphone agreement with Huawei; and governments and service providers in Australia, New Zealand, and the U.K. to block Huawei (News - Alert) from their 5G networks (or at least parts of them).
A U.K. government leader recently joined the U.S. government in discouraging others from working with Huawei. U.K. Defense Minister Gavin Williamson said he believes using Huawei’s 5G equipment may enable Chinese espionage. And he added: “We’ve got to look at what partners such as Australia and the U.S. are doing in order to ensure that they have the maximum security of that 5G network and we’ve got the recognize the fact, as has been recently exposed, that the Chinese state does sometimes act in a malign way.”
Nonetheless, as IEEE (News - Alert) reported in November, Huawei has 22 commercial 5G contracts. Ryan Ding, Huawei executive director and president of the carrier business group, offered up that detail, and he added that the company is working with more than 50 carriers on 5G commercial tests. (CBC of Canada says Huawei is helping BCE and Telus roll out 5G networks.)
Also, the Chinese company recently surpassed Apple in the smartphone arena, moving into the second position for the second quarter of 2018. It’s second only to Cisco in the enterprise IT network space. Huawei also is a market share leader in optical hardware, gaining on Ericsson and Nokia in mobile infrastructure, and a leading supplier in various other carrier network technology categories.
Edited by Maurice Nagle