17 January, 2018
National security concerns raised by Chinese tech firms including Huawei, one of the world's largest cellphone makers, have caused congress members to quietly pressure AT&T towards cutting ties with that company and others, Reuters reported Tuesday.
"The next wave of wireless communication has enormous economic and national security implications", Michael Wessel of the U.S.
House members reportedly want AT&T to shelve its partnership with Huawei over standards for its 5G network. Apparently, there is a growing concern of Chinese influence in US businesses, which has also led to other proposed deals with other Chinese companies to be killed in other sectors. They are also seeking an end to the use of Huawei handsets by AT&T's discount branch Cricket, Reuters said quoting Congressional aides.
Huawei was planning on finally making its big carrier debut in the United States this year, but at the last minute AT&T pulled out of talks and Huawei was forced to announce the Mate 10 Pro without a us carrier partner and launch it as an unlocked device instead.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang, according to Reuters, said he did not know details of the commercial cooperation cases, but at a press briefing in Beijing said, "We hope that China and the United States can work hard together to maintain the healthy and stable development of trade and business ties".More news: SpaceX successfully launches secret USA government spacecraft in first mission of 2018
Huawei has consistently dismissed such fears, and said it puts the privacy and security of its customers as its top priority. China Mobile has wanted to do business in the US since at 2011, but some lawmakers insist their introduction risks damaging national security as well, Reuters reported.
During 2012, both ZTE Corp and Huawei were investigated by the USA about whether equipment from the two provided any opportunity for threatening critical infrastructure in the US, which Huawei has always denied.
Texas Representative Mike Conaway introduced a bill last week called Defending U.S. Government Communications Act. The partnership between the two companies attracted unwanted scrutiny by U.S. lawmakers, who sent a letter with their concerns to the Federal Communications Commission in December, according to The New York Times.
Huawei and Chinese telecom firms have long struggled to gain a toehold in the USA market, partly because of United States government pressure on potential U.S. partners.