Huawei Hits Back
The recent U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence report, which concludes that Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763) are a security threat, is a case of "Americans being Americans," according to Huawei's vice president for Western Europe. (See US vs Huawei/ZTE: The Verdict.)
Speaking to the media in central London following a morning of broadband market discussions and debate, Tim Watkins said the report was "unbalanced. This is the Americans being Americans. The amount of data requested was absurd. We are very disappointed with the outcome, especially after the considerable efforts we went to" in trying to convince the U.S. investigating team that Huawei is an independent company with technology that is safe to deploy. (See Huawei Responds to U.S. Investigation.)
Watkins added that Huawei had been selected by Tier 1 operators in the U.S. but had then been "prevented from doing that business. But the Tier 2 operators are customers. We generated revenues of $1.3 billion in the U.S." in 2011.
Despite the loss of those potential deals, the Huawei man also claimed that the decision had made little difference to Huawei's overall business, though he added that the run-up to the U.S. report's findings had possibly had "some influence" on decisions made in other markets. (See Huawei Denied German Bid and Australia's (Safe) Bet Against Huawei.)
As for any operators that may have left Huawei out of their shortlists because of the U.S. investigation, Watkins noted that "there's always going to be one or two who might make life easier for themselves" by not inviting the Chinese vendor into contract tender processes, though he didn't elaborate on that statement.
Watkins was talking at the end of a morning industry debate that involved senior executives from major U.K. operators, analysts, economists and Ed Vaizey, the U.K. government's Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries. (See EIU Reports on Superfast Britain.)
Vaizey (unintentionally) raised the biggest laugh of the morning by admitting that while the current U.K. government has targets for downstream broadband speeds (2 Mbit/s available for everyone by 2015), it doesn't have a target for uplink speeds because that would be "too complicated."
It seems one broadband target at a time is enough to cope with.
— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading