Light Reading

US Senators Stir Up Huawei Security Concerns

Robert Clark
News Analysis
Robert Clark
12/5/2013
50%
50%

Senior US lawmakers are once again raising security concerns about the deployment of Huawei equipment in communications networks, but this time the focus of their concerns is across the Pacific Ocean and relates to a contract to supply 4G LTE radio access network gear to South Korean operator LG Uplus.

In a letter leaked to several Washington news bureaux, Senator Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Senator Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, have said the deal undermines the US alliance with South Korea.

"Maintaining the integrity of telecommunications infrastructure is critical to the operational effectiveness of this important security alliance," they noted in a November 27 letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Secretary of State John Kerry and James Clapper, President Barack Obama's Director of National Intelligence.

US officials reportedly told the Wall Street Journal they were concerned about close security partners such as South Korea integrating Huawei into their national telecom networks, especially given the number of US troops deployed there.

"This is their IT infrastructure. There isn't really a role for the US government to necessarily advise them. But our concerns are significant enough that we wanted to make sure that they know what we know," an unnamed official said.

Huawei's response displays a modicum of frustration. "We cannot see any justification for these groundless, false claims, which we have seen several times before. We are concerned about such comments interfering in the ongoing business activities of Huawei and our customers," said a Huawei spokesman in an email to Light Reading.

Political theater?
However, the letter may be more about political theater. It comes from Congress, not the White House, and the leak appears to have been timed to put maximum pressure on Vice President Biden, who has been holding key talks in Tokyo and Beijing this week over China's newly declared air defense zone in the East China Sea.

There's no suggestion that the Obama administration plans to directly challenge the LG Uplus contract, just as it has not challenged Huawei's role as a supplier to SoftBank Corp. in Japan (See Unknown Document 705875.)

If the situation escalates, however, it may raise questions over Huawei's role in the markets of other US allies such as Australia, where, although excluded from the NBN (national broadband network), Huawei has been told it can bid for 4G contracts. (See Australian Govt Confirms Huawei Ban.)

Huawei confirmed earlier this year it was exiting the US market, having been blocked in its attempt acquisition of 3Com and warned it would not be allowed to win major wireless contracts. (See Huawei Gives Up on US Telecom.)

LG Uplus, the smallest South Korean operator, last month tapped Huawei, Samsung, Ericsson-LG, and NSN to build its LTE network. The company said that Huawei's involvement presented no risk because its "mobile networks are managed directly by LG Uplus officials."

Lee Dong-ho, a telecom official in the Korean Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, told Reuters that Huawei was providing equipment in accordance with local regulations, and the ministry had systems in place to monitor security breaches. He added that the Ministry had no plans to look into the Huawei deal.

— Robert Clark, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

(5)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
MordyK
50%
50%
MordyK,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/14/2013 | 12:31:19 AM
Re: Isolationism
Well said Medyk, although one can argue that the US is already isolated although allies and other countries play along due to our economic & military power, but with China becoming more influential economically that hold is already fraying.
R Clark
50%
50%
R Clark,
User Rank: Blogger
12/5/2013 | 8:08:45 PM
Re: US exit
They're definitely not exiting the US handset market, and I think they still have contracts with some smaller operators that they need to support. So there will be a continued Huawei presence but they've officially given up on the carrier and enterprise market.
mendyk
50%
50%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2013 | 5:48:19 PM
Isolationism
If the U.S. starts redlining national networks that include Huawei equipment, it could end up being as isolated as ... North Korea.
KBode
50%
50%
KBode,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2013 | 11:44:35 AM
Entire Huawei Spying Affair Has Been Rather Silly
There is so much theater here it's hard to know where to start. I don't think I've seen one bit of actual hard evidence of Huawei spying, even though the government conducted a 14 month investigation into it. Also, the Washington Post in 2012 strongly suggested a lot of the spying whisper campaigns were originating with Cisco.

That's not to saying Huawei isn't spying, but the company just announced they were effectively giving up on U.S. markets. Factoring in our credibility regarding the entire Snowden affair, our repeated accusations come out as protectionist, nationalist, hypocritical and just kind of silly.

It really seems to come down to Cisco and others paying Congress to keep a competitor out of the U.S. market, since they're all likely cooperating with intelligence agencies of one stripe or another.
DOShea
50%
50%
DOShea,
User Rank: Blogger
12/5/2013 | 11:03:01 AM
US exit
Have they officially exited the US market? This is something we've been hearing a lot about, and we've seen Ren Zhengfei make some enigmatic statements (the mystery aided by possibly imprecise translation), but where does this stand in terms of having offices and people in the US and/or having conversations with potential customers?
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Then pick up your axe, put on your spandex trousers and get yourself down to Light Reading's Big Telecom Event (BTE). Kerrang!!!
LRTV Custom TV
Meeting the Demands of Bandwidth & Service Group Growth

5|1|15   |   5:35   |   (0) comments


Jorge Salinger, Comcast's Vice President of Access Architecture, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 and multi-service CCAP can meet the demands of the bandwidth and service group growth.
LRTV Custom TV
DOCSIS 3.1: Transforming Cable From Hardware-Defined Network to Software-Defined Network

4|29|15   |   03:48   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 can transform cable HFC network to a more agile software-defined network.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Predicting Traffic Patterns for Quality Mobile Broadband

4|29|15   |   6:45   |   (0) comments


Accessing information ubiquitously creates complexity and creates heavy traffic onto the network, especially at large-scale events like sporting events or festivals. In this video, Huawei's Mohammad Hussain speaks to experts about how to predict traffic and improve user experience during periods of heavy traffic.
Between the CEOs
Ciena CEO: The Web-Scale Revolution

4|28|15   |   10:32   |   (3) comments


Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders goes head-to-head with long-time Ciena CEO Gary Smith to discuss the impact of the web-scale players, the New IP and 'white box' networks.
LRTV Documentaries
Cox Eyes Cloud-Based Home Networks

4|27|15   |   05:30   |   (0) comments


Cox's Jeff Finkelstein explains how moving services to the cloud will let cable deliver services faster and eliminate constant hardware replacements.
LRTV Documentaries
CableLabs' Clarke Updates Cable Virtualization

4|23|15   |   05:41   |   (1) comment


Former BT exec now leading CableLabs' NFV and SDN efforts explains key role of open source and updates efforts to virtualize the home network.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson's CTO Talks Transformation: Pt. II

4|23|15   |   08:19   |   (1) comment


In the second installment of an in-depth two-part interview, Ericsson's CTO Ulf Ewaldsson talks to Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders about cultural change, network slicing and technology advances.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson's CTO Talks Transformation: Pt. I

4|23|15   |   09:27   |   (3) comments


In the first installment of an in-depth two-part interview, Ericsson's CTO Ulf Ewaldsson talks to Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders about the incredible transformation underway in the communications networking industry.
LRTV Documentaries
LTE Paves the Way for the 5G Revolution

4|20|15   |   4:20   |   (0) comments


Håkan Andersson, head of 5G product strategy of the Radio Business Unit at Ericsson, discusses the role of LTE, the US and other industry verticals in building a true 5G ecosystem.
LRTV Documentaries
The 3GPP's Road to 5G Standardization

4|17|15   |   4:43   |   (0) comments


Satoshi Nagata, chairman of the 3GPP's TSG-RAN group and a manager at NTT Docomo, explains the standardization process for 5G, as well as the biggest challenges and opportunities.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu CTO Makes the Case for a New 5G Air Interface

4|16|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Michael Peeters, CTO of wireless at Alcatel-Lucent, explains why 5G will require a new air interface to meet its diverse performance targets.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu + Nokia: The New Uber-Vendor

4|15|15   |   2:42   |   (4) comments


Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Gabriel Brown discusses the technological and competitive opportunities and challenges if a merger between Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia comes to pass.
Upcoming Live Events
May 6, 2015, Georgia World Congress, Atlanta, GA
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
In its latest survey covering network operators' plans and strategies for ICT transformation, Heavy Reading asked telecom operators worldwide to identify the most important goals and objectives for their ICT transformation initiatives. Heavy Reading also asked operators about the importance of a "digital first" strategy, which enables customers to complete an interaction across different digital channels, such as web and mobile self-service and social media.
Hot Topics
Eurobites: Nokia Quashes Handsets Rumor
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 4/28/2015
Verizon Builds Key Vendors Into SDN Strategy
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 4/28/2015
Why Is Verizon Fighting With Programmers?
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 4/28/2015
Astellia Highlights Customer Care Disconnect
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 4/29/2015
T-Mobile Beats Sprint on Subs, Eyes Verizon on Network
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 4/28/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders goes head-to-head with long-time Ciena CEO Gary Smith to discuss the impact of the web-scale players, the New IP and 'white box' networks.
Many leading communications companies can claim to have undergone significant periods of reinvention during their histories, but none have been through more major ...
Cats with Phones
Working With What You've Got Click Here
"It's pretty hard to answer these things without thumbs!"