Sprint Still Using Huawei Equipment in Network

by Istvan Fekete on January 26, 2016

sprintDespite promising US authorities that it would remove Huawei equipment and destroy it, Sprint still uses technology from the Chinese vendor, LightReading has learned.

In a statement emailed to LightReading, the carrier has confirmed that it is currently using mobile broadband equipment from Huawei Technologies. “The equipment all resides on the network we acquired from Clearwire [in 2013],” Sprint spokeswoman Adrienne Norton wrote.

The news will certainly capture the attention of US government departments and committees involved in national security issues, and will set the stage for a new wave of debates about the use of Chinese technology in US communications networks.

The reason Sprint may be in hot water is that it assured US government officials nearly three years ago that it would stop using Huawei equipment in its network. Furthermore, it also promised to replace or remove all Huawei gear used by Clearwire, which Sprint was in the process of acquiring.

After making that promise, Sprint gained regulatory approval for its Clearwire acquisition and the merger with Japanese operator SoftBank. Both deals closed shortly afterwards, in July 2013.

Back then Sprint had to make the commitment because Huawei had been placed on a U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence list containing vendors representing a security risk. As a result, the Committee recommended that government contractors should exclude technology from Huawei and ZTE, adding that “network providers and systems developers are strongly encouraged to seek other vendors for their projects.”

The Committee’s message to the telecom industry was: Do not do business with Huawei or ZTE, because the vendor cannot be trusted “to be free of foreign state influence.”

Of course, the news affected telcos’ ability to ink contracts with the government. While Sprint isn’t a major service provider to the federal government, it does have services deals with the US General Services Administration, the US Navy, and the Post Office, among others.

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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