Huawei tells FCC that US ban could mean country falls behind in 5G

Huawei has urged US authorities to reconsider the effective ban on its equipment in the country, claiming that the current measures will ultimately delay the rollout of 5G.

The telecommunications equipment manufacturer has been virtually frozen out of the US market because its kit is believed to be a national security risk due to perceived links with the Chinese government.

The US fears that Huawei equipment could have backdoors that would facilitate Chinese espionage – allegations that the company has continually denied.

Huawei 5G

Australia recently passed measures that will prevent Huawei from supplying 5G equipment to its operators, but other countries have not had the same level of concern. In the UK, Huawei is a key supplier to several operators and will pay a vital role in 5G rollout.

In its latest submission to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Huawei argues that it generates 60 per cent of its revenues outside China and sells products to more than 500 operators in 170 countries without issue – including to some smaller US networks.

Should it continue to be frozen out of the US market, it says that prices will rise, harming consumers and harming innovation. Ultimately, it claims, this could delay 5G rollout and hand the momentum to global rivals like China.

“In the US, where Huawei’s share of the telecommunications infrastructure equipment market is small and equipment prices are resultantly higher than in other markets, Huawei primarily serves small carriers in rural and remote areas,” said the filing.

“Huawei urged the Commission to consider the substantial costs of the [proposals], in particular its impact on carriers in rural and remote areas, many of whom are attracted to Huawei as a result of Huawei’s commitment to affordable, quality products and attentive customer service. Furthermore, Huawei’s lack of presence in the US would raise prices, harm competition, hinder innovation, and ultimately delay 5G deployment.”

The filing suggests Huawei hasn’t given up in its bid to play a role in the US market where its effective exclusion has allowed Nokia and Ericsson to agree huge deals with carriers. Ericsson is investing significant amounts in R&D and manufacturing in a bid to accelerate the rollout of 5G in the US.

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.