VERIZON HAS REPORTEDLY followed in the footsteps of AT&T by cancelling plans to offer Huawei smartphones in the US amid government fears of 'Chinese espionage'.
Bloomberg, citing people 'familiar with the matter', reports that Verizon has dropped all plans to sell Huawei phones, including the new Mate 10 Pro, after facing pressure from the US government.
This comes just weeks after AT&T backed out of a deal to flog Huawei phones in the US. The Chinese firm was set to announce the collaboration at CES earlier this month before the telecoms giant pulled out at the last minute after politicians "scuppered the deal citing security concerns."
These politicians sent a letter to FCC chairman Ajit Pai, voicing concerns over "Chinese espionage in general, and Huawei's role in that espionage in particular".
Huawei has yet to comment on its now-defunct partnership with Verizon, but the firm's CEO, Richard Yu, hit out at the US telecoms market during his CES keynote.
"Everybody knows that in the US market that over 90 per cent of smartphones are sold by carrier channels," he said. "It's a big loss for us, and also for carriers, but the more big loss is for consumers, because consumers don't have the best choice."
According to Bloomberg's report, the US government is also pressing Verizon to end any collaboration with Huawei on standards for a 5G network.
This comes amid reports that the US government wants to build its own 5G network in order to counter various perceived security threats. A senior official in Trump's administration told Reuters this week
Speaking to Reuters, the official said the US government wants to "build a network so the Chinese can't listen to your calls".
"We have to have a secure network that doesn't allow bad actors to get in. We also have to ensure the Chinese don't take over the market and put every non-5G network out of business," he added.
Back in 2012, an investigation by the US House of Representatives concluded that Huawei and ZTE posed "threats" to national security because the equipment they provide could be used to spy on the US, despite later finding no evidence that the firms had spied on behalf of China. µ
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