US firms could resume Huawei sales 'in weeks'

(Image credit: Future) (Image credit: Future)

American technology firms could be permitted to resume business with Huawei within the next “two to four weeks” as the US ban on sales to the Chinese mobile giant is relaxed.

After years of passive hostility, Washington effectively blacklisted Huawei on national security grounds earlier in 2019.

The ruling limits Huawei’s access to components and prevents its handsets from receiving updates for the Android operating system from Google or access to its popular applications.

Huawei US ban

Although Huawei is building its own operating system and produces its own components (it already makes its own Kirin processors), the absence of key services like Google Maps and the Google Play Store is a huge blow in terms of the appeal of its devices in Western markets. Meanwhile, the production of components such as modems is an expensive, laborious task.

However, it has also had a significant impact on US vendors, many of whom will lose significant revenue streams if the ban persists. Of the $80 billion spent by Huawei on components last year, $11 billion was to American companies – including Qualcomm, Intel and Broadcom.

This led to calls from some within the industry for the US Commerce Department to reconsider its stance – something it did last week.

It confirmed that some vendors will be able to do business with Huawei – so long as there's no national security risk. It’s unclear which product categories are deemed to be safe, and it’s worth pointing out that the ruling is still effective, meaning it could be enforced once again if trade talks stall.

According to Reuters, one official has said licences to do business with Huawei could be approved within a matter of mix, and that applications would be reviewed on a ‘case-by-case’ basis – at least initially.

Huawei has persistently denied any accusations of wrongdoing, while the US has never produced any evidence to support its claims that the company’s networking equipment represents a threat to national security.

It believes the ruling should be overturned entirely given the lack of proof.

Via Reuters

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.