US firms and Huawei could work together on 5G standards

A new rule aimed to allow US companies to work with China' s Huawei Technologies is about to be signed. The objective of the rule is establishing standards for next generation 5G networks. When the Commerce Department blacklisted the company last year engineers from USA quitted working with Huawei on the development of standards. In fact, after Huawei was blacklisted many companies felt insecure about the type of technology and information that they could share with the Chinese company.

What have been the consequences of this situation for USA?

According to industry and government officials this situation has put the US in a disadvantageous position. In meetings regarding the setting of standards, where regulations and technological points are developed in order to make possible that the equipment of different companies function together, Huawei raised its voice while US engineers remained silent.

What will allow the new rule?

Huawei was placed on the entity list of the Commerce Department last May, reducing sales of any type of US technology to the company and making people wonder how US firms will be able to take part in organizations that establish industry standards. Now, almost a year later, the Department has created a new rule to solve the problem. The rule, which can be still redrafted, will provide US companies with the opportunity to participate in standards bodies in which Huawei also takes part.

The Commerce Department is making the final review of the draft which will pass to other agencies searching for their approval. The time the process could take is uncertain and there is nothing clear about what will be the objections of the agencies, in case there are some. According to Naomi Wilson, senior director of policy for Asia at the ITI (Information Technology Industry Council), the US government is looking forward to keeping its companies being competitive with Huawei. “But their policies have inadvertently caused US companies to lose a seat at the table to Huawei and others on the entity list”, she said.

Other listed entities such as Chinese video surveillance firm Hikvision are not expected to be taken into account by the new rule since this will be only aimed to address Huawei. In spite of the importance of such rule the Department of Commerce reject to comment as well as Huawei. 

A letter was sent to the US secretaries of Commerce, State, Defense and Energy

Last month a letter was sent to the US secretaries of Commerce, State, Defense and Energy by six US senators including Marco Rubio, James Inhofe and Tom Cotton. The subject of the letter was nothing more than the immediate need to present policies that confirm that USA will take part in 5G standards setting without presenting any restriction regarding the entity list. “We are deeply concerned about the risks to the US global leadership position in 5G wireless technology as a result of this reduced participation”, they expressed in the letter.

Whether the process will take days, weeks or months is still uncertain but one thing is for sure, many private companies and members of the US government are looking forward to establishing standards for next generation 5G networks with Huawei.


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