The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) advanced a proposal to prohibit the use of Huawei and ZTE equipment in US mobile networks even if it is purchased with private funds, potentially expanding on a current block involving public cash.

It called for comments on the proposal to expand the scope of legislation passed in 2019 to cover private purchases of equipment from the vendors, along with other companies branded untrustworthy.

If the move advances, it would effectively prevent US companies from securing licences to use equipment from Huawei or ZTE in their networks.

A number of US network operators are already preparing to replace equipment they have previously purchased from these vendors, with the legislation providing reimbursement for the cost of replacing the kit.

Many of the US operators using Chinese equipment are regional or rural, and some have called for FCC concessions on a replacement timeline due to a global chip shortage.

Earlier this week, a bill was introduced proposing the FCC stop reviewing or approving applications from Huawei, ZTE, Hytera, Hikvision and Dahua Technology.