President Trump is reportedly planning an executive order that would ban the use of telecommunications technology from Huawei and ZTE in the United States.
According to sources speaking to Reuters, the POTUS will use the order to ‘declare a national emergency’ and outlaw US companies using equipment from the Chinese firms.
The sources say Trump plans to use the International Emergency Economic Powers Act to make the order, without requiring the OK from the legislative branch of the US government.
According to the sources, the order has been under consideration for the majority of 2018, but there is new urgency, given the impending rollout of 5G services around the US.
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The report comes amid ongoing fears that mobile infrastructure technology is being used by the Chinese government in order to spy on citizens and companies in other nations. There are also deep tensions between the two powerhouse nations when it comes to trade.
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If the order is placed, US networks and operators won’t be able to use Huawei or ZTE technologies in the rollout of 5G services, while existing infrastructure might need to be replaced.
Should the US take such drastic action, it’s entirely possible the UK will follow suit. British Telecom has already banned Huawei’s 5G kit from its network, while confirming it will strip out the firm’s gear from the existing 3G and 4G services.
It’s not clear whether the ban will focus simply on equipment used for mobile infrastructure or whether smartphones, tablets, wearables designed for consumers and more will be outlawed also.
Currently no US networks sell phones from the companies directly, and both of the major players scrapped plans to do so in early 2018. The onus is on consumers to pick them up SIM-free through other means, but the ban may even put those options in jeopardy.
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