Huawei Technologies in some countries faces product and 5G wireless network project bans; business contract restrictions; security scrutiny; and related pushback. Still, many countries are proceeding with Huawei as a potential or confirmed choice for 5G wireless network projects and associated infrastructure.
Here’s an FAQ explaining the Huawei controversy, along with a list of countries, organizations and technology companies, and their current business status with the China-based technology giant.
- Initial Publication Date: This article was originally published February 3, 2019.
- Ongoing Article Updates: This article is updated regularly with details from specific countries and technology companies. The latest updates specifically involve how the United States and FCC are helping U.S. Carriers to rip-and-replace Huawei equipment.
Q: What Is Huawei Technologies’ business focus?
A: The China-based company is one one the world’s largest providers of telecommunications equipment, networking gear, smartphones and more.
Q: Why are some countries banning or reconsidering product purchases and business relationships with Huawei?
A: Numerous countries allege that the company’s products may purposely contain security holes that China’s government could use for spying purposes. Also, some countries allege that Huawei steals intellectual property from foreign technology companies.
Q: What has Huawei said about the spying allegations?
A: Ren Zhengfei, the company’s billionaire founder, broke years of public silence to dismiss U.S. accusations the telco equipment giant helps Beijing to spy on Western governments. Source: Bloomberg, January 15, 2019.
A2: Huawei is willing to sign “no-spy” agreements with governments, including Britain, the Chinese telco company’s chairman said, amid U.S. pressure on European countries to shun the firm over espionage concerns. Source: Reuters, May 14, 2019.
Q: What allegations does Huawei face in terms of intellectual property (IP) and research and development (R&D)?
A: U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on January 28, 2019, charged Huawei with bank fraud and stealing trade secrets. In a 13-count indictment DOJ charged Huawei, its chief financial officer, and two affiliated firms with a laundry list of crimes including conspiracy, money laundering, bank and wire fraud, flouting U.S. sanctions on Iran, and obstruction of justice.
Huawei denied the U.S. charges, saying requests to meet with the US Justice Department had been “rejected without explanation.” The company said that the trade secret theft allegations were “already the subject of a civil suit that was settled by the parties.”
Q: Why has global discussion about Huawei’s alleged business practices intensified in recent months?
A: Multiple factors have heightened the media coverage and discussion about the company. Questions about Huawei’s business practices have intensified amid the U.S.-China trade war talks. Also, numerous countries and companies worldwide are considering 5G wireless network rollouts. Plus, the U.S. DOJ case against Huawei is now public knowledge. Roll all those variables together, and countries worldwide are trying to decide if or how to permit Huawei to participate in 5G wireless network projects. Source: ChannelE2E compiled reports.
Status Updates: Huawei Product Bans, Discussions and Debates
Q: Which countries, regions, businesses and organizations are banning, debating or rethinking business engagements with Huawei?
A: The list below is fluid and sorted alphabetically. Check back regularly for more updates.
Apple: Huawei has allegedly pursued information about Apple trade secrets. The alleged evidence comes from The Information. Source: The Information, February 18, 2019.
Australia: Multiple updates…
- The country has blocked Huawei and ZTE from providing equipment for its 5G network, which is set to launch commercially in 2019. Source: TechCrunch, August 2018.
- A formal WTO challenge by China to Australia’s decision banning Chinese companies from its 5G networks would force the federal government to justify its ban either on the grounds that it does not discriminate against any country or manufacturer, or that the decision was based on national security requirements. Source: The Australian Financial Review, April 15, 2019.
- Australian government officials advised India to ban Huawei from supplying parts for a rollout of a high-speed telecommunications network, Australian newspapers reported. Source: Reuters, September 9, 2019.
Austria: Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz did not rule out deploying Huawei equipment in his country’s future 5G networks but said the country would coordinate its decisions with European Union partners. Source: Reuters, June 20, 2020.
Bahrain: Bahrain, headquarters of the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, plans to roll out a commercial 5G mobile network by June 2019, partly using Huawei technology despite the United States’ concerns the Chinese telecom giant’s equipment could be used for spying. Source: Reuters, March 26, 2019.
Belgium: Multiple updates…
- Belgium’s center for cybersecurity has found no evidence that telecoms equipment supplied by Huawei Technology could be used for spying. Source: Reuters, April 15, 2019.
- Orange and Proximus have picked Nokia to help build 5G networks in Belgium as they drop Huawei amid U.S. pressure to exclude the Chinese firm from supplying key telecoms equipment. Source: Reuters, October 9, 2020.
Brazil: Multiple updates…
- The Brazilian telecoms regulator preparing to auction bandwidth for 5G mobile data said any decision on the security risks of using Chinese technology will ultimately be taken by the president’s national security advisor. Source: Reuters, February 18, 2020.
- Telecom Italia has excluded Huawei from a tender for 5G equipment for the core network it is preparing to build in Brazil and Italy. Source: Reuters, July 9, 2020.
- The U.S. government stepped up an offensive to keep Huawei out of Brazil’s 5G market, with Washington offering to finance purchases by Brazilian telecom companies of equipment from its competitors. Source: Reuters, October 20, 2020.
- Laiye and Huawei Cloud have partnered to “drive digital transformation in Brazil through cloud computing, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and big data,” the companies said. The partnership will roll out to the rest of Latin America, the duo added. Source: Laive and Huawei, November 28, 2021.
BT Group: Multiple updates…
- The Britain telecom service provider will pull Huawei equipment out of its core 4G network by 2020 to fit its own internal policy. The move follows reports that the US is CNet, December 2018. foreign allies’ wireless and internet providers to avoid the Chinese company’s equipment, citing cybersecurity risks. Source:
- BT has asked the UK government for more time to remove the Huawei core of its network after supply chain concerns led to an impending ban on the equipment. Source: Bloomberg, June 29, 2022.
Canada: Multiple updates include…
- The country as of early February 2019 was currently considering whether to ban Huawei from providing equipment for 5G cellular networks in Canada. However, at least one small Huawei 5G network rollout is under way in the country. Source: The Globe and Mail, February 1, 2019.
- Canada is likely to postpone a decision on whether to allow China’s to supply 5G network equipment until after the October 2019 federal election, given increasingly strained relations with Beijing, say three well-placed sources. Source: Reuters, July 15, 2019.
- Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou allegedly told a Canadian border official that the company has an office in Iran — an assertion potentially buttressing U.S. claims that the Chinese tech giant engaged in activities there that violated U.S. sanctions. Source: Bloomberg, August 21, 2019.
- The U.S. national security adviser urged Canada not to use Huawei 5G technology, saying that doing so would put in jeopardy intelligence sharing with the United States and expose Canadians to being profiled by the Chinese government. Source: Reuters, November 23, 2019.
- Canada is signaling it might not compensate major telecommunications providers if the federal government bans equipment made by Huawei from 5G networks, setting up a potential fight over a bill that could hit C$1 billion ($758 million). Source: Reuters, September 13, 2020.
- Canada’s decision on whether to ban Huawei 5G gear, as all the other members of the so-called Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network have done, is likely to be made in “coming weeks,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said. Source: Reuters, September 28, 2021.
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will join Canada’s closest intelligence allies in banning Huawei from 5G networks. Source: Bloomberg, May 19, 2021.
- China on May 16, 2019, slammed a decision by the U.S. government to put telecom equipment giant Huawei on a blacklist and said it will take steps to protect its companies, in a further test of ties as the superpowers clash over trade. Source: Reuters, May 16, 2019.
- China warned British Prime Minister Boris Johnson that his decision to ban Huawei from the 5G network would cost Britain dearly in investment, casting the move as the result of politicized pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump. Source: Reuters, July 15, 2020.
- China is considering retaliating against telecom gear makers Nokia and Ericsson if the European Union follows the United States and Britain in banning Huawei from 5G networks. Source: The Wall Street Journal via Reuters, July 20, 2020.
- China will take “all necessary measures” to protect its firms’ legitimate interests, the Commerce Ministry said, in response to the U.S. move this week to further tighten restrictions on Huawei. Source: Reuters, August 20, 6:00 a.m.
- China announced an initiative to establish global standards on data security, saying it wanted to promote multilateralism in the area at a time when “individual countries” were “bullying” others and “hunting” companies. Source: Reuters, September 7, 2020.
- Sweden should reverse its ban on Chinese telecommunications companies Huawei and ZTE from a planned 5G spectrum auction to avoid a “negative impact” on its own companies, said China’s foreign ministry. Source: Reuters, October 21, 2020.
Cisco Systems: Cisco sued Huawei in 2003, alleging that the China-based company stole Cisco source code to build Huawei network routers. Huawei denied those claims, and Cisco ultimately dropped the suit as long as Huawei modified its product line, discontinuing some products. Source: The Verge, January 2018.
Czech Republic: Huawei threatened legal action against the Czech Republic if the country’s cybersecurity agency did not rescind a warning about the risk the company poses to the nation’s critical infrastructure. Source: The New York Times, February 8, 2019.
Denmark: Multiple updates…
- Danish authorities have expelled two Huawei staff after an inspection at the company’s Copenhagen office showed they failed to comply with laws covering residence and work permits. The inspection had no relation to recent headlines around growing scrutiny over Huawei’s ties with the Chinese government and allegations that Beijing could use its technology for spying, something which the company has denied. Source: Reuters, February 4, 2019.
- KPN has chosen Sweden’s Ericsson to build core elements of its new 5G mobile network following a decision last year not to select China’s Huawei. Source: Reuters, October 15, 2020.
Deutsche Telekom: Multiple updates…
- Europe’s biggest telecommunications company, said that if Huawei is banned in Europe, it would delay its deployment of 5G networks by up to two years. To avoid such setbacks, Deutsche Telekom has suggested a new security certification process for mobile network equipment, which would allow telcos in Germany to continue to use products from Chinese vendors in their 5G rollout plans. Sources: Tom’s Hardware, January 31, 2019 and TotalTele, January 31, 2019.
- It would be wrong for Germany to impose blanket bans on foreign vendors of telecoms network equipment, Deutsche Telekom CEO Tim Hoettges said, in an answer to a question about Huawei. Source: Reuters, June 19, 2020.
- Deutsche Telekom said no telecoms equipment vendor should be barred from Germany on political grounds, reiterating its opposition to calls from some lawmakers to bar China’s Huawei Technologies on national security grounds. Source: Reuters, August 13, 2020.
Ericsson: Multiple updates…
- The company’s CEO said Sweden’s decision to ban China’s Huawei from its 5G telecoms networks restricts free competition and trade, the Financial Times reported. Source: Reuters, November 18, 2020.
- Telefonica has purchased 5G network equipment from Ericsson to replace some of the Huawei gear it has rolled out in Spain. Source: Reuters, December 27, 2021.
Europe: Multiple Updates…
- The European Union is considering proposals that would effectively amount to a de-facto ban on Huawei equipment for next-generation mobile networks (i.e., 5G Wireless projects). Source: Reuters, January 30, 2019.
- Huawei is ready to face any extra security measures required to remain in the race to develop next-generation 5G networks in central and eastern Europe, Andy Purdy, Chief Security Officer at Huawei Technologies USA, said. Source: Reuters, February 13, 2019.
- The European Commission the week of March 25, 2019, will urge EU countries to share more data to tackle cybersecurity risks related to 5G networks but will ignore U.S. calls to ban Huawei Technologies, four people familiar with the matter said on March 22, 2019. Source: Reuters, March 22, 2019.
- European countries appear to be tightening network security regulations rather than outright banning Huawei’s technology. Source: Bloomberg, April 15, 2019.
- A ban on buying telecoms equipment from Chinese firms would add about 55 billion euros ($62 billion) to the cost of 5G networks in Europe and delay the technology by about 18 months. Source: Reuters, June 7, 2019.
- The rollout of 5G services across Europe has being slowed by U.S. sanctions against Huawei and as European governments review the impact of using Chinese equipment, the head of Swedish telecoms group Tele2 said. Source: Reuters, July 1, 2019.
- EU countries endorsed a tough line for selecting 5G suppliers, including vetting the domestic legal framework to which they are subjected, potentially dealing a blow to Huawei. Source: Reuters, November 22, 2019.
- The European Union won’t explicitly ban Huawei or other 5G equipment vendors when the bloc unveils guidelines for member states to mitigate security risks. Source: Bloomberg, January 20, 2020.
- The EU followed Britain’s example, allowing members to decide what part Huawei can play in its 5G telecoms networks and resisting pressure from Washington for an outright ban. Source: Reuters, January 29, 2020.
- EU countries have no reason to use 5G mobile technology from Huawei because Sweden’s Ericsson, Finland’s Nokia and South Korea’s Samsung are on par with the Chinese group in the field, a senior U.S. diplomat said. Source: Reuters, February 19, 2020.
- A business group representing challenger telecoms operators in Europe warned against banning Chinese equipment vendors, saying that doing so for political reasons would force up costs and delay network upgrades. Source: Reuters, October 16, 2020.
Continue to page two for additional company and country updates, sorted alphabetically.