Lawmakers Pushing AT&T To Cut All Ties With Huawei

Lawmakers Pushing AT&T To Cut All Ties With Huawei

U.S. Representative Michael Conaway has proposed a new bill (via TechCrunch) that would ban the U.S. government "from working with service providers that use any equipment from [Huawei or ZTE] for security reasons".

National security experts fear that any data from a Huawei device, for example about the location of the phone's user, would be available to Chinese government intelligence services.

Lawmakers are advising American companies that if they have ties to Huawei or China Mobile, it could hamper their ability to do business with the USA government, a source was quoted as saying.

A U.S. bill has been proposed that would ban Huawei and ZTE services in the US.

China Mobile applied for a licence to do business in the US in 2011 and the application is still with the US Federal Communications Commission.

This new bill comes as a major blow to the US presence of Huawei, which is already unsteady following a deal with AT&T that did not push through.

Huawei and Chinese telecom firms have long struggled to gain a toehold in the United States market, partly because of USA government pressure on potential U.S. partners, Reuters noted. Although ZTE and Huawei are supposedly private companies, ZTE is state-owned and was founded by investors associated with China's aerospace ministry; Huawei was started by an ex-Chinese military engineer, and has what has been described as an "opaque" corporate structure.

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AT&T cancelled a deal earlier this month to offer Huawei handsets to its customers on its mobile plans.

Another is using handsets made by Huawei by Cricket, the discount subsidiary of AT&T.

The federal government also blocked a series of acquisitions by Chinese companies over concerns of national security including the proposed purchases by Ant Financial of US based money transfer business MoneyGram International.

China Mobile, which applied to the FCC for a licence to operate in the United States in 2011, should not be given it say the politicians.

While the potential for a cybersecurity concerns exists, Huawei and ZTE have always been targets for members of Congress, and this bill could be a form of political signaling to China.

Huawei has long protested that its equipment contains no backdoors that could threaten USA communications infrastructure, however.

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