UK and Japan telecoms join US in blacklisting Huawei products

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Huawei laptop has NSA-inspired spy software installed

Earlier this month, President Trump issued an executive order that prohibited United States-based companies from doing business with foreign companies that work against American interests. The U.S. Department of Commerce labeled Huawei a national security threat. So, the government effectively blacklisted the electronics maker.

In response, tech giants Google and Intel ended their business relationships with the corporation. Now, several high profile British and Japanese firms have followed the lead of their American counterparts.

No Huawei 5G Handsets in Britain

On May 22, U.K. mobility giants Vodafone and EE announced they would be suspending the launch of Huawei’s 5G smartphones on their new high-speed networks. Both firms indicated they’re excluding the Chinese conglomerate’s handsets from their lineups because of uncertainty about their long-term viability.

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On Monday, Google also announced it would bar Huawei from using Android on its future handsets because of the Trump Administration’s edict.

Vodafone and EE’s anxieties about Huawei hardware revolve around the possibility that Britain will replicate America’s sanctions. If that happens, the Shenzen-based firm might be prevented from providing critical firmware updates to its handsets. Alternatively, the manufacturer might force a new in-house made operating system on its British users.

As of 2018, Huawei represented 13.7 percent of the British smartphone market.

Even worse, London could direct British telecoms to remove the company’s smartphones or transceivers from their network. Though the U.K. government hasn’t issued any bans, its cybersecurity regulator has argued Huawei’s products aren’t secure.

On the other hand, London might choose to preserve its relationship with Huawei despite external and internal pressure. In late April, the British National Security Council reportedly decided to allow Huawei to help build its 5G infrastructure.

ARM Halts Relationship with Huawei

Semiconductor company ARM has also cut ties with Huawei. The British-based, Japanese-owned firm has licensed its chip architecture patents to the Chinese corporation for several years. But on Wednesday, the component maker’s leadership told its staff it was halting “all active contracts, support entitlements, and any pending engagements” with Huawei.

While ARM is not a U.S. firm, some of its hardware designs include elements originating in America. Consequently, the component company has joined Intel, Qualcomm, Broadcom, and Xilinx in turning its back on the device manufacturer. However, ARM and Huawei said they would resume their arrangement once the current imbroglio is resolved.

Other Nations Respond to U.S. Sanctions

America’s blacklisting of Huawei’s products and services has affected more than just the U.S. and U.K telecom markets.

For instance, Japanese carriers KDDI and Y!mobile announced they are delaying the late May release of new Huawei handsets on their networks. Though Apple and various domestic brands dominate Japan’s mobility sector, the Chinese firm has a market share of four percent.

Panasonic has also issued an internal memo directing its employees to cease all transactions with Huawei. The Japanese-based corporation had an agreement to supply Huawei’s HiSilicon fabrication subsidiary with semiconductors.

Germany is also struggling to adapt to the new blacklist. On Monday, the German Economic Ministry announced it was “examining” Washington’s new sanctions against the tech firm. Two days later, a German government official stated the nation was moving ahead with its plan to use Huawei equipment in its 5G deployment.

While the European republic’s government is still doing business with the controversial electronics maker, its private sector has reacted differently. Infineon Technologies, a Neubiberg-based component maker, announced it would no longer be delivering its U.S.-made semiconductors to Huawei.

In 2018, the Chinese conglomerate had a 32 percent share of the European smartphone market.

When news of the Trump Administration’s Huawei blacklist broke, the firm’s CEO and founder Ren Zhengfei said Washington was “underestimating” the company’s capabilities. However, as the U.S. has caused the corporation to lose many of its key retail and supply chain relationships in less than a week, it seems the reverse is true.