Last week, the U.S. decided to restrict Chinese mobile phone maker Huawei’s access to U.S. technology, saying that this access poses a security risk. This decision has had worldwide consequences.
What the blacklisting means is that Huawei can no longer source software components from U.S. suppliers without a license. But this issue affects more than just American buyers who want Huawei’s latest 5G smart phone.
Japanese electronics maker Panasonic is scrutinizing its sourcing for parts to see if Huawei components are in anything it creates and will “continue to strictly abide by the laws and regulations of the countries and regions in which we conduct business.”
Google has barred Huawei from some Android operating system updates, which means that new smart phones produced by the company could lose access to some Google apps.
Vodafone, the world’s second largest mobile phone carrier, said that it had paused pre-orders in the UK for Huawei’s new 5G smartphone, the Mate 20X. “This is a temporary measure while uncertainty exists regarding new Huawei 5G devices,” a Vodafone spokesperson told CNN business. The UK’s biggest phone carrier, EE, is also delaying the introduction of the Mate 20X.
Japan’s top mobile carriers also took steps to bar Huawei from its markets, meaning that the Huawei P30 Lite won’t be sold in Japan until the issues caused by the U.S. blacklisting become clearer. Other Japanese telecoms including NTT Docomo, KDDI, and Softbank, are also delaying the list of the Mate 20X.
“We are looking into how big the impact is and decided to postpone the sales,” said KDDI spokeswoman Reiko Nakamura.
Huawei, for its part, said, “We value our close relationships with our partners, but recognize the pressure some of them are under, as a result of politically motivated decisions. We are confident this regrettable situation can be resolved and our priority remains to continue to deliver world-class technology and products to our customers around the world.”
However, the loss of Huawei’s access to the Google Android ecosystem will hurt a lot more than temporary delays in shipping and sales. The loss of Google access will make Huawei devices a lot less attractive to international consumers because Huawei customers will lose access to Android operating system updates and to the Google Play app store. Worse, third-party apps like ride-hailing and food delivery services rely on services such as Google Maps. Those apps won’t function on a phone cut off from Google services.
Huawei phones currently in use don’t seem to be affected, however.
Part of the Huawei issue is due to the Trump administration’s ongoing trade war with China, and another large part is that the U.S. has long suspected that Huawei may be using its phones for surveillance of the networks on which their phones operate.
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