Chinese vendor Huawei Technologies is in early-stage negotiations with a number of U.S. telecommunications firm regarding the potential licensing of its 5G technology to them, Reuters reported, citing a company executive.
Vincent Pang, SVP and board director at Huawei, confirmed that some firms in the U.S. have expressed interest in either a long-term agreement or a one-time transfer. The executive was not able to provide specific details about the identity and the precise number of interested firms.
“There are some companies talking to us, but it would take a long journey to really finalize everything (…). They have shown interest,” Pang reportedly said.
He added that negotiations had started a few weeks ago and are not yet at a detailed level. However, he declined to predict whether any deal might be signed, according to the report. Pango also highlighted that the continuous investment in research and development that would be needed to update the platform after a single-transfer from Huawei would be very costly for the interested companies.
The potential plan of a one-time fee in exchange for access to Huawei’s 5G patents, licenses, code and know-how was first announced by Huawei’s CEO and founder Ren Zhengfei in interviews with the New York Times and The Economist last month.
Ren said 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.
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.
Ren also said that if the U.S government do not trust Huawei to install its 5G gear across the country, the vendor 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.
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. However, government officials recently confirmed that all the export licenses requested by U.S. companies are still pending approval.
The U.S. and Australia have already banned Huawei from deploying its 5G solutions in 5G networks due to concerns that the Chinese government use the equipment for spying purposes. Huawei has repeatedly denied claims that it would help the Chinese government spy on or disrupt other countries telecoms systems. The company says it is a private company owned by its workers.
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