Huawei Technologies and ZTE on Monday asked U.S. regulators to keep them off a list of companies deemed national security threats, a label that would bar the Chinese telecommunications equipment makers from selling gear to subsidized U.S. carriers.
Mobile broadband providers separately told the Federal Communications Commission that it would be costly for them to replace gear made by ZTE and Huawei if ordered to do so.
The agency in November made an initial determination that ZTE and Huawei, both based in Shenzhen, China, pose a national security risk.
Huawei gear is cheaper than competitors’ and is popular with smaller, rural U.S. telecommunications providers, which often rely on government subsidies. In a Jan. 31 filing at the FCC, a company, Union Wireless, predicted “extraordinary costs” to replace equipment in Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Colorado, and Montana across 80,000 square miles -- an area larger than England.
The FCC is now considering whether to require wireless broadband providers to remove and replace equipment from companies considered a security risk, and how to establish a reimbursement fund for such a policy.
Huawei’s has repeatedly denied that it poses any security risk, and insists that it’s independent of the Beijing government.
ZTE, in its Monday FCC filing, denied it was a threat and said it complies with U.S. export controls and is working to provide secure products.