US government 'urges' allies to ditch Huawei equipment

The US is reportedly urging governments and telecoms providers in allied countries to follow its lead and prevent the use of Huawei’s networking equipment in their mobile and fixed infrastructure.

A report in The Wall Street Journal claims US government officials have made contact with foreign counterparts and telecoms executives in several countries to discuss the security concerns it has about the Chinese company.

The site also suggests that Washington is considering an increase in financial aid for telecoms development in countries that avoid Huawei’s products. Countries in which the US has a military base, such as Germany, Italy and Japan, are of particular interest.

Huawei 5G equipment

Huawei has effectively been frozen out of the US market, although it does provide equipment to a number of smaller players in the country, while Australia has banned its operators from using Huawei equipment in their 5G rollouts on national security grounds.

The main basis for these fears is a perception that Huawei is linked to the Chinese government and that the use of the company’s equipment risks the possibility of backdoors that could be used for espionage.

Huawei has repeatedly denied such accusations, pointing out that it works with security agencies around the world and that it sells products to more than 500 operators in 170 countries without issue. This includes the UK, where BT, EE, Vodafone and Three are all customers.

“Huawei is surprised by the behaviours of the US government detailed in the article,” a Huawei spokesperson told TechRadar Pro. “If a government's behaviour extends beyond its jurisdiction, such activity should not be encouraged. Huawei firmly believes that our partners and customers will make the right choice based on their own judgment and experience of working with Huawei. We will continue to serve our global customers with our innovative solutions.”

There is little demand among operators for any barriers to the use of Huawei kit as this would reduce choice, hinder innovation and increase costs. Only this week, Huawei revealed it had shipped more than 10,000 5G base stations outside China and had signed 22 commercial 5G contracts with foreign operators.

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.