Japanese carrier Softbank and Sprint have assured a U.S. lawmaker that Huawei equipment will not be added to Sprint’s network following their approaching merger, Bloomberg reported.
The boycott of Huawei is in response to U.S. officials who fear China may somehow be electronically spying through telecommunication companies like Huawei or ZTE. Sprint has also assured the U.S. government that every effort will be made to replace Huawei equipment in its Clearwire network.
Softbank and Sprint have been waiting on a decision about the merger since last October, when Softbank announced plans to buy 70 percent of Sprint for a cool $20 billion. The deal was just waiting for the go-ahead from the Federal Communications Commission, though it had already been approved by executives at Sprint and Softbank. However, earlier this year, the United States Department of Justice requested the FCC delay the merger further.
“If government approval of the transaction is somehow contingent on an agreement to restrict purchase of equipment from any vendor based on the flag of heritage, then it is a sad day for free and open global trade and it does nothing to secure the network,” Bill Plummer, a U.S. spokesman, told Bloomberg. “Everyone is global and every company faces the same cyber challenges.”
Sprint’s wireless partner, Clearwire, uses Cisco for most of its equipment and uses Huawei equipment more sparingly so Sprint shouldn’t have too much trouble adjusting to the rejection of Chinese telecom companies. However, the consequences for Huawei and ZTE remain to be seen.