… effectively communicate the economic and national security risks of Huawei and ZTE communications equipment — and even adopted broadband grant policies that incentivized rural carriers to use this equipment because it was the cheapest around,” Warner said in a statement.
“While we’ve made enormous progress in educating the private sector of the dangers these vendors pose, we haven’t put in place policies to help resource-strapped rural carriers address and eliminate those risks,” the senator added. “This bill ensures that on a going-forward basis we don’t make the same mistakes in allowing companies subject to extra-judicial directions of a foreign adversary to infiltrate our nation’s communications networks.”
Huawei and ZTE didn’t respond to requests for comment for this article.
Another piece of legislation introduced in the House of Representatives (“Promoting United States International Leadership in 5G Act of 2019”) is intended to give the U.S. a greater role in developing 5G technical standards.
The “United States and its allies and partners should maintain participation and leadership at international standard-setting bodies for 5th and future generation mobile telecommunications systems and infrastructure,” section 3 of the bill stated.
The bill also called for the United States to work with its allies and partners to help develop secure supply chains and networks for 5G and future mobile systems.
“China’s majority control of the world’s 5G networks, interconnected devices and cloud storage is a risk we cannot accept,” Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, lead Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who introduced the bill alongside Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), said in a statement. “This bill better protects our national security and strategic interests by pursuing an alternative to China’s 5G campaign and ensures we set future standards.”
Some experts in mobile technology and cybersecurity questioned the bill’s timing considering 5G standards have been under development for many years.
“The U.S. government can’t just somehow show up and pound its fist and say, ‘We want to have more of a role in creating the standards,’” said Daryl Schoolar, practice leader of Next Generation Infrastructure with Ovum, a data, research and consulting business, in an interview with Channel Partners. “The 5G standard is well developed and along its way.”
The analyst also pointed out bay stations – a key component of 5G infrastructure – are not made in the United States. Based on revenues in 2018, Huawei was the No. 1 bay station vendor with 30% share of the nearly $32.7 billion market, followed by Sweden-based Ericsson (26.9%) and Finland-based Nokia (22.1%), according to Ovum.
Tom Wheeler, the former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission during the Obama administration, addressed issues involving Huawei in a July 9 report related to 5G.
“The use of Huawei equipment in domestic networks has many facets,” Wheeler wrote in the report for the Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institution, a public policy organization. “One concern is the ability to introduce network vulnerabilities through ongoing software updates. The other is the concern expressed by some that …