This article originally appeared in Rethink Wireless
Huawei unveils security plan
Chinese vendor Huawei, which risks losing out of major contracts because of concerns from US and Indian security agencies, has outlined a three-pronged security plan which could help it win US business.
While the Shenzhen-based firm denies allegations of close ties to the PLA, it has also been seeking to address fears to pave the way for contracts and even acquisitions, especially in the US.
The company is thought to be in the running for a major deal with Sprint Nextel for multimode infrastructure.
A group of Republican senators had raised concerns that such a deal would compromise national security and Huawei was clearly speaking to their fears, even as its VP of global marketing, Kevin Zhang, officially dealt with a generic security framework.
He said security was a growing concern for cellcos as they migrated to all-IP networks, and that Huawei's framework would be the first of a kind of framework that all vendors might have to adopt in future, to win business outside their native bases.
The plan includes the establishment of a national security committee in the US, UK and France. In the US, this will be headed by Matt Bross, Huawei's CTO, who lives in the country.
The UK and French versions were less detailed, but are no doubt geared to possible expanded business with majors like Vodafone (to whom Huawei is already a framework supplier) and Orange.
The second element of the plan is to open up certain software source code in Huawei equipment to third parties. This would include the hiring of accredited third parties to conduct auditing and testing.
Thirdly, Huawei would guarantee “trusted delivery” of all products if required - for instance, conducting and staffing US market delivery only with US citizens.
Though this would go further than most vendors' policies in keeping purchases from Huawei open, and separate from Chinese interests, some analysts think US opposition is not really all about political fears, but designed to reduce competition for homegrown firms like Cisco or the US arm of Alcatel-Lucent.
As in India, Huawei may find even more concessions are needed to smooth the path, including commitments to invest in local facilities and R&D.