It kind of makes me laugh when people talk in terms of a country signing a deal with Huawei.
Certainly when you talk about the UK where I live and work and the fuss made over the government’s recent announcements is highly amusing.
In most territories (certainly in the UK and the US) the respective governments are regulators and have nothing whatsoever to do with the building of mobile infrastructure.
So they could as a government, ban imports from specific companies, in the US Trump seems to have done something along these lines as an ‘executive order’ for ‘national security’ reasons. In fact on the flip side, these governments could offer incentives to use specific companies. They could also stop government departments/employees from using services that incorporate technologies from specific hardware vendors etc. This would be enough to make most mobile operators in most territories think twice at the very least, as it would represent a significant potential lost revenue source.
Even in Russia, these days on the face of it, this appears to be true (though I will confess to only having made a few cursory web searches on this territory so I am not claiming any expertise in the area)
What they cannot do is ‘sign a deal’ with them. It is not the governments that are building the networks, it is private companies, so the headlines and the facts are completely different things. As is so often the case.
Here in the UK as an example there are 4 major mobile companies. These companies have all built their own mobile networks either on their own or in commercial collaboration with one another, regulated by Ofcom (the UK government-approved telecommunications regulator)
Each of these companies has significant purchasing and fraud and security teams, each of these companies has made significant investments in buying licensed spectrum within which they will operate their 5G offerings.
These are the companies that will, if they have not already, ‘sign deals’ with Huawei or for that matter any other entity on the planet to build their networks. So whilst they may feel political pressure from the UK government and they will undoubtedly follow the law (and their predictions of where the law might go) they will ultimately choose their suppliers through a rigorous selection process that will be in the interests of their businesses and their owners/shareholders. In the UK at least two of these operators are owned by much larger, global entities who will also have their input into these procurement processes.
So why are these announcements made? A question I have asked myself.
The only conclusion I have drawn is political posturing. I won’t really comment on Trump’s motives as this is not the purpose of my answer.
I will say that the ‘Security concerns’ statement is blatantly misleading (at best, some might say outright BS).
Britain on the other hand is in the process of negotiating its own trading partnerships and as the government wishes to foster relationships all over the globe.
Draw your own conclusions!
As for whether or not Huawei is involved in state-sponsored snooping? does it actually matter? Personally, I’d be more concerned about ‘kill switches’ in such infrastructure.
This might sound like a silly thing to say but large sections of the internet and subscriber traffic get ‘accidentally rerouted’ due to BGP misconfigurations on a relatively regular basis. It would be naive to believe that all the major governments are not snooping on their own populations and those of foreign governments.
It is down to each entity and individual to protect their own data to the best of their ability. This is especially true of government entities. So my question would actually run the other way if America is so concerned about the ability of one Chinese company to snoop (which in itself is most likely to be utter BS) do they have much wider cyber issues to worry about? are they concerned about their encryption systems etc?
Christ we have American snooping stations on our own shores Menwith Hill eavesdropping base undergoes a massive expansion
Trump’s exclusionist policies will ultimately hurt the American economy, as it stands right now the traffic he has applied to is already largely being paid by the American companies importing Chinese-made goods, so ultimately the American consumer.