The Pentagon has ordered all retail outfits within the precinct of the United State military bases to stop selling devices manufactured by either Huawei or ZTE. The reason put forward for this is the same old story that using such devices made by either of the two Chinese manufacturers could pose a security risk.
This is obviously a continuation of the now infamous clampdown of two of China major telecommunications equipment suppliers. The statement by a Pentagon representative sent to The Wall Street Journal states that “Huawei and ZTE devices may pose an unacceptable risk to the department’s personnel, information, and mission. In light of this information, it was not prudent for the department’s exchanges to continue selling them.” The ban, however, does not include the use of Huawei and ZTE equipment in the military bases. Although The Pentagon also added that it is contemplating the option of sending out a military-wide advisory about the perceived dangers of Huawei and ZTE hardware. In addition, military personnel can still obtain and keep devices purchased from other OEMs.
Huawei has responded to the ban in a statement issued to The Verge:
“Huawei’s products are sold in 170 countries worldwide and meet the highest standards of security, privacy, and engineering in every country we operate globally, including the US. We remain committed to openness and transparency in everything we do and want to be clear that no government has ever asked us to compromise the security or integrity of any of our networks or devices.”
An unnamed source told The Wall Street Journal that military leaders are worried that China could use Huawei and ZTE devices to locate soldiers in the field. Both Huawei and ZTE state that no such capability exists.We think so too and the ban is turning out to be one huge joke takn too far. For one, there has been no established evidence to back the suspicions.
Before now, the U.S authorities had issued an advice to citizens against buying Huawei or ZTE smartphone. This resulted in AT&T pulling out of a deal with Huawei to sell its smartphones in the U.S. Online retailer, Best Buy also halted sales of Huawei smartphones on its website. Even with these hurdles, Huawei is still dogged about its entry into the U.S even though it seems to have shifted focus from the market. The Chinese manufacturer’s smartphones, including those under the Honor brand are still being sold in the U.S via Amazon. Too bad that the Huawei P20 Pro which is currently one of the best-reviewed Android phones is not available in the U.S.
Unfortunately, ZTE is in a deeper mess which is unconnected to this issue. The U.S authorities slammed a seven years ban on ZTE for its flagrant violations of Iranian trade bans. The ban means American companies are now banned from selling products, including softwares to the Chinese smartphone manufacturer.