As Huawei faces blacklisting by feds, the company argues that would slow 5G deployment

ORLANDO–As Huawei faces intense regulatory scrutiny that could potentially see the Chinese infrastructure giant barred from selling equipment in the U.S., the company’s Vice President of Sales for America told rural carriers assembled at the Competitive Carrier Association’s Annual Convention that Huawei doesn’t need the U.S. market to succeed.

Huawei’s Bill Levy said: “I was listening to [FCC] Commissioner [Brendan] Carr talk, so I switched my final thoughts to something that he was talking about. I think the U.S. is behind right now in the 5G deployment. I think that when you look at the 2 million base stations that he was referring to in China that are being deployed, Huawei has deployed 90% of those base stations. Huawei is going to be a $100 billion company this year. We invest $15 billion annually into our R&D department. This is going to sound—I’ve got to finish this thought. I don’t want people to say, ‘Oh, god. It’s so arrogant what he just said,’ but Huawei doesn’t need the USA. That doesn’t mean we’re leaving the USA. But it means that the company is going to be successful no matter what happens with all the political stuff that’s going on here in the U.S. Me personally, the folks in this room, we have very good partnerships. We’re not going anywhere. We’re loyal to our customers.”

Those comments came during a panel discussion largely focused on VoLTE and IMS investment strategies for rural carriers.

In his remarks Carr continued the U.S. Federal Communication Commission’s characterization as a race between the U.S. and China that will have major, long-term implications for economic primacy. “With the transition from 4G to 5G underway, the FCC needed to take bold action. Here’s why. Winning the global race to 5G, seeing this new platform deployed in the U.S. first, is about economic leadership for the next decade. Those are the stakes.”

Specific to China, Carr said, “They view 5G as a chance to flip the script. They want to lead the tech sector for the next decade and they’re moving aggressively to deploy the infrastructure needed for 5G. Since 2015, China has deployed 350,000 cell sites. We’ve built fewer than 30,000. Right now China is deploying 460 cell sites a day. That’s 12 times our pace. All told, China has 1.9 million cell sites. We have around 200,000. So we have to be honest about this infrastructure challenge and we need to show the courage to act.”

In an Oct. 1 FCC filing, Huawei representatives argued that it can play an important role in the domestic deployment of 5G and “could reduce the concentration of the industry, increase competition, reduce prices, and encourage increased deployment by carriers. Given the upcoming 5G deployments and the benefits of improved telecommunications for the economy as a whole, the benefits to consumers of increased competition for infrastructure equipment could be substantial.”


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