US operators could get $1.6B to replace Huawei, ZTE kit - Mobile World Live

US operators could get $1.6B to replace Huawei, ZTE kit

04 SEP 2020

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) listed Verizon among 51 operators in the country using kit from Huawei and ZTE, as it released the results of a survey to determine the cost of ripping and replacing the equipment.

Verizon was the only tier-1 mobile operator on the list, with the remainder mostly smaller regional players.

CEO Hans Vestberg previously stated Verizon does not use Huawei equipment in its network: a representative told Mobile World Live this is true, but noted some customers use Huawei-made devices as part of its Voice Link residential voice service.

Verizon aims to remove the devices from service by the year-end without seeking government compensation, the representative said.

The FCC’s survey formed part of a move by the government in 2019 to ban companies using government funds to buy the Chinese vendors’ kit.

In addition to identifying the operators affected, the regulator sought to establish the cost of replacing equipment currently in use. Of the $1.8 billion estimated by operators, the FCC said $1.6 billion would be eligible for federal reimbursement.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said the assessment represents “a critical milestone in our ongoing commitment to secure our networks”, adding “we can now work to ensure that these networks, especially those of small and rural carriers, rely on infrastructure from trusted vendors”.

He renewed earlier calls for politicians to allocate money to a reimbursement account which was created in February but never funded.

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Diana Goovaerts

Diana is Mobile World Live's US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana came to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and CED Magazine, digital-only...

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