Report: Sprint still using Huawei network gear

Sprint's (NYSE: S) network still includes working Huawei equipment despite the carrier's 2013 vow to remove or destroy gear from the Chinese company, according to a LightReading report.

The carrier confirmed Huawei equipment is still being used on the network it acquired from Clearwire three years ago, LightReading said. SoftBank had pledged to remove Huawei network gear in 2013 as it sought approval to acquire the U.S. carrier.

"Regarding equipment, Huawei equipment will be destroyed," Sprint spokeswoman Adrienne Norton told FierceWireless in November on the eve of the carrier's shutdown of the WiMAX network it inherited in the Clearwire acquisition. "Other equipment will either be recycled or reused…. The non-Huawei sites that are not being kept as part of Sprint's network plan will have equipment removed in phases as lease terms expire or are terminated."

Huawei and its fellow China-based vendor ZTE were called out in a 2012 government report as security threats that could be used as backdoors for Chinese espionage. The companies refuted any such allegations, but Huawei has since essentially been locked out of major network infrastructure contracts with telecom operators such Verizon, Sprint and others.

Huawei hopes its U.S. prospects are improving due to factors including changing views on network security, market consolidation, and ever-evolving network technologies. "There's (now) a much clearer understanding of how networks work," William Plummer, VP of the company's external affairs for the U.S. market, said last month, explaining that Washington officials are focusing their concerns beyond equipment vendors as the number of network hacks increases.

A Sprint spokeswoman told LightReading the carrier isn't "commenting on timing" regarding the replacement of Huawei gear in its network.

For more:
- see this LightReading report

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Should Huawei, ZTE and other Chinese firms be allowed back into U.S. wireless market?

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