US politicians pressure AT&T to cut ties with China's Huawei in 5G development

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U.S. political figures are reportedly escalating their pressure on AT&T to distance itself from Chinese companies, including work on 5G standards with Huawei.




Politicians have expressed national security concerns, two congressional aides told Reuters. Huawei has ties to the authoritarian Chinese government, and -- in theory -- its involvement in 5G could be used to make it easier for China to infiltrate foreign networks. At the same time the company is one of the world's biggest smartphone makers, making it difficult to ignore in the pursuit of global standards.

AT&T has refused to comment, beyond saying it has yet to make decisions on 5G equipment suppliers.

Earlier in January, AT&T put a halt to plans to offer Huawei phones after some members of Congress lobbied against the idea with regulators, according to Reuters sources. Politicans are also said to be agitating against Huawei phones being sold through AT&T's Cricket division, and calling on AT&T to oppose China Mobile entering the U.S. carrier market.

Two Republican representatives, Michael Conaway and Liz Cheney, introduced a bill earlier this week that would block the U.S. government from involvement with either Huawei or a fellow Chinese company, ZTE. AT&T does sell ZTE phones.

AT&T is expected to launch its first 5G service in 12 cities by the end of 2018. Sprint and T-Mobile should go live in 2019 and 2020.

In November rumors suggested that Apple is collaborating with Intel on a 5G modem for future iPhones, presumably as a way of distancing itself from legal adversary Qualcomm. Future iPhones might even build that modem into a system-on-chip, manufactured at Intel facilities.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 46
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,013member
    In what might be the most irrelevant comment ever made here on AI, I want to point out that Huawei is a title sponsor of the very popular Hockey Night in Canada on CBC. Given that most of the NHL is based in the US, I rather wonder if this will create yet another rift between US and Canada.
    curtis hannahJWSCcornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 46
    "[US] Politicians have expressed national security concerns... Huawei has ties to the authoritarian Chinese government, and -- in theory -- its involvement in 5G could be used to make it easier for China to infiltrate foreign networks."

    Unsurprisingly hypocritical. We made MS Windows a global standard with backdoors.
    I'm sure Apple and Google have been handed down gag orders for backdoors as well.
    curtis hannahtzm41
  • Reply 3 of 46
    Nothing that a suitcase full of cash wouldn't fix.
    curtis hannahmuthuk_vanalingammystigocornchipwatto_cobraredgeminipa
  • Reply 4 of 46
    Why is congress fighting Huawei, they say that China could spy through the phones? Seems to be just anticompetitive from this article.
    tzm41
  • Reply 5 of 46
    "[US] Politicians have expressed national security concerns... Huawei has ties to the authoritarian Chinese government, and -- in theory -- its involvement in 5G could be used to make it easier for China to infiltrate foreign networks."

    Unsurprisingly hypocritical. We made MS Windows a global standard with backdoors.
    I'm sure Apple and Google have been handed down gag orders for backdoors as well.
    FUD. There aren’t backdoors in iOS or macOS, and Cook has said publicly that they’d never do this. He’s barred from lying, and it would destroy their reputation when it came out. And with all the scrutiny on Apple software, it would come out. If it were true, which it isn’t. 
    racerhomie3airnerdmystigomagman1979anantksundaramicoco3JWSCwatto_cobraredgeminipa
  • Reply 6 of 46
    Why is congress fighting Huawei, they say that China could spy through the phones? Seems to be just anticompetitive from this article.
    Read the source links. They cited national security concerns, not competition concerns. Note that they aren’t saying the same about S. Korean phone makers like Samsung, just China’s Huawei. 

    If we say that secret national security concerns aren’t legit here, then we need to say it everywhere the govt cites it, including the undisclosed evidence that russia colluded (proof was never given to the public, just a “trust us” claim). So where do we draw the line? 
    edited January 16 magman1979anantksundaramwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 46
    Good.
    Keep scummy thieves like Huawei off the US.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 46
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 1,678member
    U.S. political figures are reportedly escalating their pressure on AT&T to distance itself from Chinese companies, including work on 5G standards with Huawei.




    Politicians have expressed national security concerns, two congressional aides told Reuters. Huawei has ties to the authoritarian Chinese government, and -- in theory -- its involvement in 5G could be used to make it easier for China to infiltrate foreign networks. At the same time the company is one of the world's biggest smartphone makers, making it difficult to ignore in the pursuit of global standards.

    AT&T has refused to comment, beyond saying it has yet to make decisions on 5G equipment suppliers.

    Earlier in January, AT&T put a halt to plans to offer Huawei phones after some members of Congress lobbied against the idea with regulators, according to Reuters sources. Politicans are also said to be agitating against Huawei phones being sold through AT&T's Cricket division, and calling on AT&T to oppose China Mobile entering the U.S. carrier market.

    Two Republican representatives, Michael Conaway and Liz Cheney, introduced a bill earlier this week that would block the U.S. government from involvement with either Huawei or a fellow Chinese company, ZTE. AT&T does sell ZTE phones.

    AT&T is expected to launch its first 5G service in 12 cities by the end of 2018. Sprint and T-Mobile should go live in 2019 and 2020.

    In November rumors suggested that Apple is collaborating with Intel on a 5G modem for future iPhones, presumably as a way of distancing itself from legal adversary Qualcomm. Future iPhones might even build that modem into a system-on-chip, manufactured at Intel facilities.
    Is this an admission by the Republican representatives that US will use 5G to infiltrate foreign networks?
    tzm41
  • Reply 9 of 46
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 2,329member
    "[US] Politicians have expressed national security concerns... Huawei has ties to the authoritarian Chinese government, and -- in theory -- its involvement in 5G could be used to make it easier for China to infiltrate foreign networks."

    Unsurprisingly hypocritical. We made MS Windows a global standard with backdoors.
    I'm sure Apple and Google have been handed down gag orders for backdoors as well.
    FUD. There aren’t backdoors in iOS or macOS, and Cook has said publicly that they’d never do this. He’s barred from lying, and it would destroy their reputation when it came out. And with all the scrutiny on Apple software, it would come out. If it were true, which it isn’t. 
    Isn't exactly the same true for Huawei?

    Worse in fact.

    Apple is only involved in the handset business. Huawei has divisions in far more communications areas including submarine communications deployment.

    If being found to have back doors would destroy Apple's reputation, what would it do to Huawei? Far more damage. Right into its core business.

    This US 'fear' has been going on for years now without any evidence to back it up.

    Huawei has denied everything that it has been singled out for. The US should put something tangible on the table or things will start to stink of protectionism and it might not be long before they get called out or China starts to take its own measures.

    AT&T already does business with Huawei in places like Mexico and Huawei already does massive business in most of the rest of the world, including the UK. In that case the UK government has a special unit with deep access to Huawei equipment.


    tzm41curtis hannahJWSC
  • Reply 10 of 46
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 2,329member
    Why is congress fighting Huawei, they say that China could spy through the phones? Seems to be just anticompetitive from this article.
    Read the source links. They cited national security concerns, not competition concerns. Note that they aren’t saying the same about S. Korean phone makers like Samsung, just China’s Huawei. 

    If we say that secret national security concerns aren’t legit here, then we need to say it everywhere the govt cites it, including the undisclosed evidence that russia colluded (proof was never given to the public, just a “trust us” claim). So where do we draw the line? 
    The US government (through different committees, bills, pressure etc) accuses Huawei of being a threat to national security and can't present anything to substantiate the claims.

    Then the US government's NSA gets found out for doing exactly what it's campaigning to protect against (operation Shotgiant). Oh dear, there's egg on your face if ever there was.

    It is far too late to do anything about Samsung. They are already in.

    If the Huawei threat were so great they would get in anyway, compromising other people's equipment to do so.

    The current situation has a ring of paranoia and protectionism to it and the only way to set things straight is by supporting the claims with something tangible.
    edited January 16 tzm41muthuk_vanalingamJWSC
  • Reply 11 of 46
    avon b7 said:

    This US 'fear' has been going on for years now without any evidence to back it up.
    Your statement here makes the ‘fear’ sound irrational. Most people don’t really understand the extent of the fact that people generally have their own interests at stake. While I don’t know what to think of these congressmen’s actions, perhaps they are acting with a different subset of information than we have access to. Even if they aren’t, to assume Huawei is benign to the extent that we blindly trust them with US mobile network designs without question or investigation is foolish. Maybe Huawei is great and trustworthy, but I’m pretty no one here is privy to remotely enough information to draw that conclusion. 
    StrangeDayswatto_cobraEwalkaceblu
  • Reply 12 of 46
    tzm41tzm41 Posts: 66member
    avon b7 said:
    "[US] Politicians have expressed national security concerns... Huawei has ties to the authoritarian Chinese government, and -- in theory -- its involvement in 5G could be used to make it easier for China to infiltrate foreign networks."

    Unsurprisingly hypocritical. We made MS Windows a global standard with backdoors.
    I'm sure Apple and Google have been handed down gag orders for backdoors as well.
    FUD. There aren’t backdoors in iOS or macOS, and Cook has said publicly that they’d never do this. He’s barred from lying, and it would destroy their reputation when it came out. And with all the scrutiny on Apple software, it would come out. If it were true, which it isn’t. 
    Isn't exactly the same true for Huawei?

    Worse in fact.

    Apple is only involved in the handset business. Huawei has divisions in far more communications areas including submarine communications deployment.

    If being found to have back doors would destroy Apple's reputation, what would it do to Huawei? Far more damage. Right into its core business.

    This US 'fear' has been going on for years now without any evidence to back it up.

    Huawei has denied everything that it has been singled out for. The US should put something tangible on the table or things will start to stink of protectionism and it might not be long before they get called out or China starts to take its own measures.

    AT&T already does business with Huawei in places like Mexico and Huawei already does massive business in most of the rest of the world, including the UK. In that case the UK government has a special unit with deep access to Huawei equipment.


    Exactly, much more FUD factors getting spun around Huawei in the US than Apple anywhere. While Apple is mostly making consumer products, Huawei produces not only phones but telecomm infrastructure hardwares and softwares that are used in so many countries around the world, under so much scrutiny from different national security organizations. If any backdoor is found it won't be any better than a death sentence to their international business.
  • Reply 13 of 46
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 2,329member
    georgie01 said:
    avon b7 said:

    This US 'fear' has been going on for years now without any evidence to back it up.
    Your statement here makes the ‘fear’ sound irrational. Most people don’t really understand the extent of the fact that people generally have their own interests at stake. While I don’t know what to think of these congressmen’s actions, perhaps they are acting with a different subset of information than we have access to. Even if they aren’t, to assume Huawei is benign to the extent that we blindly trust them with US mobile network designs without question or investigation is foolish. Maybe Huawei is great and trustworthy, but I’m pretty no one here is privy to remotely enough information to draw that conclusion. 
    Then bring up the drawbridges and cut yourself off from the rest of the world.

    Why stop a deal on handsets through a carrier if the same handsets are green lighted for sale through US retail channels? The exact same hardware.

    Of course, carrier support offers some advantages to customers and given the particularities of the US market, Huawei stood to ship a lot of phones through that channel. 
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 14 of 46
    There are two issues:
    1) Many of the underlying communication systems rely on dual-use technology, and so regulated under the EAR (US export control list from a non-military wing of the feds). Huawei (and ZTE, and others) contracts with the PLA for same types of communication technologies. So a US firm working together with Huawei could aid a foreign military power and violate the EAR. AT&T doesn't want to do that, and congressional folks are implicitly threatening this (this is the pressure they're applying to AT&T).
    2) There have been strong concerns for close to two decades that many Chinese firms are funded (run?) indirectly by the PLA (People's Liberation Army). The PLA is very wealthy and powerful (duh) so not a huge stretch of the imagination given China's governing structure. There isn't direct [public] evidence making this connection but the scuttlebutt is that intelligence agencies from multiple countries strongly believe this to be the case. Insert "CIA guarantees there are WMD in Iraq" joke here.

    If you're a US business you do not ever want to violate export controls, because people go to jail for doing that (google "export control jail" for a fun 45 minutes of reading) and there isn't the same kind of corporate immunity shielding employees for violating export controls like there are for other white-collar crimes. So the AT&T execs got a threatening call from congress and they knew to take it personally.
    StrangeDaysGG1JWSCwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 46
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 2,329member

    From the protectionist perspective, articles like this piece (in Spanish) are starting to pop up.

    The title is indicative of the content:

    "The march [into the US] of Chinese giant Huawei threatens the rule of Apple in the US"

    http://www.pulso.cl/empresas-mercados/huawei-avance-del-gigante-chino-amenaza-reinado-apple-eeuu/

    It suggests that Apple and Cisco stand to benefit from the current situation as a result of the government thwarting Huawei's entry into the US market.

    It draws parallels with the presence of Huawei in Chile where its marketshare went from 3% to 15% in two years.

  • Reply 16 of 46
    avon b7 said:
    Then bring up the drawbridges and cut yourself off from the rest of the world.
    US intel agencies prefer to keep the drawbridge down and reverse-inflitrate to gather intel and occasionally do more than just gather.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 46
    avon b7 said:
    "[US] Politicians have expressed national security concerns... Huawei has ties to the authoritarian Chinese government, and -- in theory -- its involvement in 5G could be used to make it easier for China to infiltrate foreign networks."

    Unsurprisingly hypocritical. We made MS Windows a global standard with backdoors.
    I'm sure Apple and Google have been handed down gag orders for backdoors as well.
    FUD. There aren’t backdoors in iOS or macOS, and Cook has said publicly that they’d never do this. He’s barred from lying, and it would destroy their reputation when it came out. And with all the scrutiny on Apple software, it would come out. If it were true, which it isn’t. 
    Isn't exactly the same true for Huawei?

    Worse in fact.

    Apple is only involved in the handset business. Huawei has divisions in far more communications areas including submarine communications deployment.

    If being found to have back doors would destroy Apple's reputation, what would it do to Huawei? Far more damage. Right into its core business.

    This US 'fear' has been going on for years now without any evidence to back it up.

    Huawei has denied everything that it has been singled out for. The US should put something tangible on the table or things will start to stink of protectionism and it might not be long before they get called out or China starts to take its own measures.

    AT&T already does business with Huawei in places like Mexico and Huawei already does massive business in most of the rest of the world, including the UK. In that case the UK government has a special unit with deep access to Huawei equipment.
    I never said the source of the concern is backdoors in their consumer products. I have no idea what the government's security concern is, because they haven't disclosed it to me or to you. If you are to now reject the govt's claim w/o evidence, then you must also reject every other similar claim they make, including Russian collusion and other similar national security claims, none of which we ever see evidence put out openly on the table.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 46
    avon b7 said:
    Why is congress fighting Huawei, they say that China could spy through the phones? Seems to be just anticompetitive from this article.
    Read the source links. They cited national security concerns, not competition concerns. Note that they aren’t saying the same about S. Korean phone makers like Samsung, just China’s Huawei. 

    If we say that secret national security concerns aren’t legit here, then we need to say it everywhere the govt cites it, including the undisclosed evidence that russia colluded (proof was never given to the public, just a “trust us” claim). So where do we draw the line? 
    The US government (through different committees, bills, pressure etc) accuses Huawei of being a threat to national security and can't present anything to substantiate the claims.

    Then the US government's NSA gets found out for doing exactly what it's campaigning to protect against (operation Shotgiant). Oh dear, there's egg on your face if ever there was.

    It is far too late to do anything about Samsung. They are already in.

    If the Huawei threat were so great they would get in anyway, compromising other people's equipment to do so.

    The current situation has a ring of paranoia and protectionism to it and the only way to set things straight is by supporting the claims with something tangible.
    Um, you must have missed then memo from five years ago: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/09/us/us-panel-calls-huawei-and-zte-national-security-threat.html

    There's plenty of evidence. Including from other countries around the world. Read/look up if you're interested to learn more.
    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 46

    avon b7 said:

    From the protectionist perspective, articles like this piece (in Spanish) are starting to pop up.

    The title is indicative of the content:

    "The march [into the US] of Chinese giant Huawei threatens the rule of Apple in the US"

    http://www.pulso.cl/empresas-mercados/huawei-avance-del-gigante-chino-amenaza-reinado-apple-eeuu/

    It suggests that Apple and Cisco stand to benefit from the current situation as a result of the government thwarting Huawei's entry into the US market.

    It draws parallels with the presence of Huawei in Chile where its marketshare went from 3% to 15% in two years.
    That's a laughable title and premise. Cheap knockoff brands like Huawei are not a threat to Apple's business at the high-end in the US. Maybe to Samsung and the other knockoffs, but not to the name brand original. Huawei's brand just isn't strong enough. We don't even know how to pronounce it, let only covet it. A KFC phone isn't going to cut it here:



    Just more wishful thinking on your part.
    edited January 16 ilikeapple1999watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 46

    tzm41 said:
    avon b7 said:
    "[US] Politicians have expressed national security concerns... Huawei has ties to the authoritarian Chinese government, and -- in theory -- its involvement in 5G could be used to make it easier for China to infiltrate foreign networks."

    Unsurprisingly hypocritical. We made MS Windows a global standard with backdoors.
    I'm sure Apple and Google have been handed down gag orders for backdoors as well.
    FUD. There aren’t backdoors in iOS or macOS, and Cook has said publicly that they’d never do this. He’s barred from lying, and it would destroy their reputation when it came out. And with all the scrutiny on Apple software, it would come out. If it were true, which it isn’t. 
    Isn't exactly the same true for Huawei?

    Worse in fact.

    Apple is only involved in the handset business. Huawei has divisions in far more communications areas including submarine communications deployment.

    If being found to have back doors would destroy Apple's reputation, what would it do to Huawei? Far more damage. Right into its core business.

    This US 'fear' has been going on for years now without any evidence to back it up.

    Huawei has denied everything that it has been singled out for. The US should put something tangible on the table or things will start to stink of protectionism and it might not be long before they get called out or China starts to take its own measures.

    AT&T already does business with Huawei in places like Mexico and Huawei already does massive business in most of the rest of the world, including the UK. In that case the UK government has a special unit with deep access to Huawei equipment.


    Exactly, much more FUD factors getting spun around Huawei in the US than Apple anywhere. While Apple is mostly making consumer products, Huawei produces not only phones but telecomm infrastructure hardwares and softwares that are used in so many countries around the world, under so much scrutiny from different national security organizations. If any backdoor is found it won't be any better than a death sentence to their international business.
    See above.
    watto_cobra
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