Chinese vendor Huawei’s founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei has proposed selling the company’s current 5G know-how to a Western company as a way to address security concerns by the U.S. and other Western countries, according to interviews published by The Economist and The New York Times.
Ren told the news outlets that the potential buyer will have access to Huawei’s existing 5G patents, licenses, code, technical blueprints and production knowledge for a one-time fee. In the interview published by The Economist, Ren added that they buyer will be also free to change the software code of 5G products.
The U.S. and Australia have banned Huawei from deploying its 5G gear in 5G networks due to concerns that the Chinese government use the equipment for spying purposes. The U.K. government is still weighing a decision about a potential involvement of Huawei in 5G contracts and plans to make a final decision in the short term.
Huawei has repeatedly denied claims that it would help the Chinese government spy on or disrupt other countries telecoms systems. The vendor says it is a private enterprise owned by its workers.
In an interview with The New York Times, Ren affirmed that Huawei is open to sharing its 5G technologies and techniques with U.S. companies, “so that they can build up their own 5G industry.”
“This would create a balanced situation between China, the U.S. and Europe,” he added. “The U.S. side has to accept us at some level for that to happen.”
He also stressed that American companies “can also modify Huawei’s 5G technologies to meet their security requirements.” They can even “change the software code. In that case, the U.S. will be assured of information security,” he said.
At present, Huawei’s main rival companies are Finnish firm Nokia and Swedish vendor Ericsson, and South Korea’s Samsung and China’s ZTE are other alternatives for carriers seeking to deploy 5G networks.
American companies including Cisco, Dell EMC and Hewlett Packard Enterprise have developed 5G-related technologies, but the country lacks a specialist in 5G infrastructure.
“If the U.S. reaches out to us in good faith and promises to change their irrational approach to Huawei, then we are open to a dialogue. The U.S. shouldn’t try to destroy Huawei over something trivial. If the U.S. feels we have done something wrong, then we can discuss it in good faith and find a reasonable solution. I think we can accept that approach,” Ren said.
“There are no restrictions on what we would be willing to discuss with the Department of Justice,” he added.
He also said that in the event that the U.S government do not trust Huawei to install its 5G gear across the country, the company is ready to license the entire Huawei 5G platform to any American company that wants to manufacture it and install it and operate it, completely independent of Huawei.
In May, the U.S. Department of Commerce added Huawei to its Entity List, a decision that effectively banned the company from buying parts and components from U.S. companies without U.S. government approval. Under the order, Huawei will need a U.S. government license to buy components from U.S. suppliers.
At that time, firms including Google, Intel, Qualcomm and Microm halted shipments due to the restrictions. Huawei relies heavily on computer chips imported from U.S. companies.
In July, President Donald Trump agreed to grant “timely” licensing decisions to U.S. technology firms that want to sell components and services to Huawei.
Last month, the U.S. Commerce Department confirmed it had received over 130 applications from U.S. firms for licenses to sell goods to Huawei. However, government officials recently confirmed that all the export licenses requested by U.S. companies are still pending approval.
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