Huawei banned from building public-safety LTE networks

The U.S. Commerce Department declared that China's Huawei won't be allowed to build LTE networks for the public safety community because of concerns over national security.

Huawei "will not be taking part in the building of America's interoperable wireless emergency network for first responders due to U.S. government national security concerns," Commerce Department spokesman Kevin Griffis told The Daily Beast.

The U.S. government has had long-standing concerns over Huawei and its pursuit of more business in the U.S. wireless market. Last year, Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) decided to block both Huawei and ZTE from getting its multi-billion-dollar network modernization project because of mounting national security concerns from lawmakers and others within the government about the Chinese vendors. They are concerned about Huawei's chips, routers and other equipment that could be bugged to give China's government access to sensitive information.

Huawei has been working hard in the past year to allay security concerns, including the establishment of a national security committee, using an accredited independent test lab to check Huawei's proprietary software and ensuring trusted delivery of all products by using U.S. citizens to deliver product in the U.S. The manufacturer has also been working with U.S. law firms to help its cause.

In 2008, the Treasury Department's Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States blocked a proposed sale of the U.S. software company 3com to Huawei on national security grounds. More recently, the National Security Agency and the White House discouraged Sprint from using Huawei components in the company's proposed bid to expand the 4G network.

The latest Pentagon report on the Chinese military singles out Huawei as a company that maintains "close ties" to the People's Liberation Army, an allegation Huawei continues to deny.

William Plummer, Huawei's vice president for external relations, told The Daily Beast that the Commerce Department's decision lacked merit.

"Given that to the best of Huawei's knowledge neither the Commerce Department nor any other agency of the U.S. government has conducted any audits of our equipment, such a determination seems utterly capricious," he said. "Due to our heritage in China--where all of our competitors also conduct R&D and code software and build solutions--Huawei's business activities in the U.S. have been repeatedly and unfairly challenged due to vague supposed security concerns that have never been substantiated."

Huawei was invited to test its equipment for the new wireless network for first responders in April, according to an email from the National Institute for Standards and Technology.

For more:
- see this article from The Daily Beast

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