USA lawmakers urge AT&T to cut commercial ties with Huawei

US law makers turn their attention from Kaspersky to Huawei urging AT&T to ditch Huawei equipment

Lawmakers in the USA have been urging AT&T, the second largest US wireless carrier, to cut its commercial ties with Huawei Technologies the phone maker based in China and are opposed to the plans by China Mobile, a telecom operator to enter the market in the US due to concerns over national security, said a pair of congressional aides. They're also unhappy with the fact that Cricket Wireless, a subsidiary of AT&T providing pre-paid mobile voice, text, and data, resells Huawei handsets.

Earlier in January, AT&T had to end its plan of offering its customers handsets made by Huawei after some Congress members lobbied against that idea with regulators, said sources.

According to Reuters, US authorities are anxious that the wireless carrier's increasingly close ties with the Chinese company - founded in 1987 by Ren Zhengfei, a former engineer in the People's Liberation Army - claiming that it poses "national security concerns".

Lawmakers do not want China Mobile to be given a license to do business in the United States, Reuters cited the congressional aides as saying.

Neither of the companies offered official statements, but AT&T did tell Reuters that it's yet to make a decision on 5G suppliers.

On Monday, Huawei did say that it sells its equipment via over 45 of the top 50 worldwide carriers, and puts the security and privacy of its clients at the top of the list of its priorities. "Allowing Huawei, ZTE, and other related entities access to USA government communications would be inviting Chinese surveillance into all aspects of our lives".

Two congressional aides, who are unnamed, told Reuters that government officials fear that the increasing dominance of Chinese companies, such as Huawei, could threaten the country's security.

In 2012, Huawei and ZTE Corp were the subject of a US investigation into whether their equipment provided an opportunity for foreign espionage and threatened critical USA infrastructure - a link that Huawei has consistently denied. "The next wave of wireless communication has enormous economic and national security implications", said Michael Wessel of a US-Chain security review commission.

"China's participation in setting the standards and selling the equipment raises many national security issues that demand strict and prompt attention".

The government is telling companies that dealing with Huawei, China Mobile and other firms could harm their ability to procure government contracts.

Politicians are saying that companies which deal with ZTE and Huawei will not get business from the U.S. government.

Two Republican lawmakers, Representatives Michael Conaway and Liz Cheney, introduced a bill this week that bars the US government from using or contracting with Huawei or ZTE Corp, a Chinese telecommunications and equipment and systems company.

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