FCC move to rip out its telecom equipment in US ‘geopolitical statement’: Huawei
Published: Jul 14, 2021 12:18 PM
A demo video of the HarmonyOS is shown on Huawei's smart screen at a chain shop of electronics retailer on Chaoyang Road, Beijing on July 17. Photo: VCG

A demo video of the HarmonyOS is shown on Huawei's smart screen at a chain shop of electronics retailer on Chaoyang Road, Beijing on July 17. Photo: VCG

Huawei said on Wednesday that it is disappointed over the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) approval for carriers to rip out and replace its telecommunications equipment in the US, accusing the commission of "simply using policy in an effort to make a geopolitical statement."

The FCC approved a $1.9 billion program in a vote on Tuesday to rip out and replace equipment from Chinese telecom companies including Huawei and ZTE, citing "national security risks," US news outlet CNBC reported.

The program will subsidize the cost of this move for small US telecommunications firms to secure US networks, it said.

"The so-called Rip & Replace rules are simply an unrealistic attempt to fix what isn't broken," Huawei said in a statement sent to the Global Times on Wednesday.

The FCC initiative creates extraordinary challenges for carriers in the most rural or remote areas of the US to maintain the same high level and quality of service they provide to their customers without disruption, the company said.

Ma Jihua, a telecom industry veteran, told the Global Times that the prices of Huawei telecom equipment are about 30-50 percent cheaper than those of Nokia and Ericsson, and therefore Huawei gear is popular with many smaller US carriers that serve fewer than 10 million end users.

He said that the US' goal of excluding Chinese telecoms companies may fail, as there is doubt that the Biden administration has the money to subsidize the carriers, while smaller carriers have no motive to replace Huawei or ZTE gear at their own expense.

"Smaller carriers in the US may even go bankrupt if the new equipment lowers network quality, which will result in poorer broadband connectivity in rural areas and harm the US' goal of building a digital society," he said.

There are more than 50 mostly smaller US telecom companies with Huawei or ZTE gear or using services from the companies, as well as a few larger companies like CenturyLink and Verizon Communications Inc, media reports said.

The FCC's action is the latest move targeting Chinese telecom companies. Last year, the FCC formally designated Huawei and ZTE as national security threats to its communications networks and prohibited US companies from tapping $8.3 billion in government funds to purchase equipment from these companies.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian reiterated at a recent press conference that "the US side is still abusing state power by citing national security as an excuse to crack down on Chinese companies without providing any proof. "This typical and unveiled economic and technological bullying is a flagrant denial of the market economy principles the US claims to champion."

Global Times