Sprint Nextel and SoftBank, have assured lawmakers that they would not use equipment from China’s Huawei in Sprint’s cellphone network, the chairman of the House intelligence committee said on Thursday.
Representative Mike Rogers, the chairman of the committee, said both Sprint and SoftBank of Japan had pledged not to use Huawei equipment in the existing Sprint network. The two also said they would move to replace Huawei products in the network of Clearwire, a high-speed data service provider that Sprint is in the process of acquiring. Chairman Rogers served as an officer in the U.S. Army and as a Special Agent in the FBI.
Here are five reasons why the US may be making a mistake:
- All Governments lie. Just like individuals. Evidence in a court of law is the best defense.
- Huawei is the world authority on TD-LTE. Denying their expertise is misguided.
- Consumer costs will increase while Apple and Intel can expect retaliation.
- Intel can kiss any “cloud basestation” partnership with ZTE or Huawei goodbye.
- Does Cisco really think this action will increase their market share?
Without evidence, the governments case seems dubious.
If SoftBank takes control of Sprint, the combined group will not be able to use SoftBank’s experience of using Huawei equipment for TD LTE mobile broadband services. SoftBank is using Huawei equipment for the Wireless City Planning project.
Japan’s third largest mobile operator, Softbank, is implementing a TD-LTE system like that planned by Clearwire in the USA. Softbank 4G is built and run by Wireless City Planning (WCP), a division of Softbank’s E-Access.
Softbank awarded Huawei and ZTE construction contracts for their TD-LTE network. Softbank expected one million TD-LTE subscribers by the end of 2012; with TD-LTE base stations to reach 30,000 by March 2013. Softbank’s 2.6 GHz TD-LTE network will cover 90% of the area and population in Japan by the end of 2013.
The 52-page report (pdf), which is unclassified, doesn’t include evidence showing either Huawei or ZTE equipment has been used for spying. But it says some companies in the U.S. “have experienced odd or alerting incidents” involving Huawei or ZTE equipment, although it provides no details.
The report comes as Huawei reportedly considers an IPO. Huawei is now the world’s second-largest provider of telecommunications equipment, and it does 70% of its business outside China.
ZTE has a smaller U.S. footprint, primarily through sales of devices like smartphones. Its sales in the U.S were $30 million last year. State-owned enterprises own 15.68% of the company.
Both Huawei and ZTE are dominant international players in 4G LTE infrastructure. Carriers in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa and South America have committed to the Chinese vendors for major parts of their 4G infrastructure.
China Mobile and Intel recently announced a joint “cloud basestation” venture to lower the cost of broadband. It this approach, tiny radio hubs, not much bigger than WiFi hotspots, are controlled by Intel servers miles away.
Huawei and Intel have joined forces to create an interoperability test lab that will focus on China’s homegrown time-division LTE (TD-LTE) network. Like ALU’s lightRadio, Intel’s Cloud – Radio Access Network (C-RAN) splits the base station from the integrated antenna/radio at the cell site.
The Chinese government has recently indicated it is likely to regulate the smartphone and application industries within China more closely. Presumably, China could place a hefty import tariff on the iPhone and Intel processors as retaliation.
Related Dailywireless articles include; Cisco Small Cells, Intelligence Committee: Huawei & ZTE Security Threats, Sprint & Softbank Discuss Merger, Japan & Korea: More LTE than USA , Intelligence Committee: Huawei & ZTE Security Threats , Dish Planning Internet-based TV Service?, Clearwire: On the Hot Zone , Japan and S Korea Report Big LTE Growth, SK Telecom Introduces Voice over LTE, MetroPCS Moves to Voice over LTE, SK Telecom Does Multi-Carrier LTE, South Korea Completes Nationwide LTE Coverage, Qualcomm Demos LTE to WCDMA Call, Voice Over LTE, Clearwire: Riding the TD-LTE Wave?, China Mobile Announces TD-LTE Rollout,