Verizon has dropped plans to sell phones made by Huawei, responding to U.S. government suspicions that the Chinese manufacturer’s phones could pose security threats, according to anonymous sources cited by Bloomberg.
This month, AT&T pulled out of a deal to sell Huawei’s Mate 10 Pro in the U.S. after pressure from the U.S. government.
The U.S. government has long been suspicious of Huawei and ZTE Inc., another Chinese telecom maker. A lengthy investigation by the House Intelligence Committee in 2012 concluded that the two companies were arms of the government, had engaged in corporate espionage to steal technology from U.S. companies, and could poentially spy on Americans. The committee’s bipartisan report recommended that American companies should be barred from buying equipment from Huawei and ZTE.
Huawei is the third largest smartphone manufacturer in the world and China’s largest maker of telecommunications equipment. The company was making a major push to sell phones into the U.S. this year. Those plans have been stymied by pressure from the U.S. government.
In December, U.S. lawmakers asked the Federal Communications Commissions to begin an investigation of Huawei’s push into the U.S. consumer market, according to Bloomberg News. Congressman Mike Conaway of Texas introduced a bill this month to prohibit the U.S. government from purchasing equipment or services from Huawei and ZTE.
The perceived threat of espionage from Chinese telecom manufacturers is one of the reasons the Trump administration is considering plans to assure that the U.S. 5G wireless network is built without any Chinese components. ZTE, however, plans to introduce a 5G-capable device this year or next, according to Bloomberg.