Huawei appeals US FCC ban

(Image credit: Huawei)

Huawei is legally challenging a decision made by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that prevents mobile operators in the country from using government funds to buy its telecommunications networking equipment.

Last month, the FCC declared Huawei to be a national security risk and voted on a measure that requires US operators to remove and replace Huawei kit in their networks. A fund of $8.5 billion has been established to cover the cost.

Chinese vendors have largely been excluded from the US market, with major carriers opting to use radio equipment from Ericsson, Nokia and others. However a number of smaller providers use kit from Huawei and ZTE because it is relatively inexpensive.

Huawei FCC

The Rural Wireless Association, which represents operators with fewer than 100,000 customers, estimates a quarter of its members have Chinese-made kit in their networks.

The FCC’s decision was based on national security grounds, but in a submission to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Huawei says the FCC did not provide sufficient evidence to support its claims and ignored submissions that highlighted how the ruling would harm US operators. In any case, Huawei says the FCC lacks the authority to make such a judgement.

“Banning a company like Huawei, just because we started in China – this does not solve cyber security challenges,” Huawei’s Chief Legal Officer Song Liuping. “Huawei also submitted 21 rounds of detailed comments, explaining how the order will harm people and businesses in remote areas. The FCC ignored them all.

“Carriers across rural America, in small towns in Montana, Kentucky, and farms in Wyoming – they choose to work with Huawei because they respect the quality and integrity of our equipment. The FCC should not shut down joint efforts to connect rural communities in the US.”

“The designation is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of Chinese law and on unsound, unreliable, and inadmissible accusations and innuendo, not evidence. The designation is simply shameful prejudgment of the worst kind,” added Glen Nager, Huawei’s lead counsel.

US hostilities towards Huawei have increased in recent months, with Huawei also banned from dealing with US firms. The ban on dealing with US suppliers has limited Huawei’s access to key technologies such as Google’s Android’s operating system and has been a blow to its ambition of becoming the world’s leading smartphone manufacturer.

Huawei has frequently denied any allegations that its products are a security risk, while Washington has produced no evidence of any wrongdoing.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.