Mobile Carriers in Britain and Japan Begin to Turn Away From Huawei

A Huawei store in Beijing, May 20, 2019. The Chinese technology giant on Monday began to feel painful ripple effects of a Trump administration order that effectively bars American firms from selling components and software to the company. (Lam Yik Fei/The New York Times)



mie Tsang

c.2019 New York Times News Service



LONDON — Google’s decision to cut off support to Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications giant blacklisted by the Trump administration, is rippling across the globe as companies suspend ties to the handset-maker.

In Britain, where Huawei is one of the most popular cellphone brands, two of country’s biggest mobile networks, EE and Vodafone, announced they would stop offering Huawei phones to 5G customers as a result of Google’s decision.

In Japan, the three largest cellphone companies also said they were reconsidering plans to sell a new series of Huawei smartphones.

And ARM, a chipmaker based in Britain, was reportedly suspending its business with Huawei because some of its designs contained technology from the United States, according to documents seen by the BBC. ARM said Wednesday that it was “complying with all of the latest regulations set forth by the U.S. government” and declined to comment any further.

The moves follow Google’s announcement Monday that it would cut off support to Huawei for its Android hardware and software services. Google’s announcement was a result of a Trump administration order last week that effectively barred American firms from selling components and software to Huawei, ramping up a cold war between the two countries over technology and trade.

EE and Vodafone in Britain both said that they would hold off selling Huawei phones to customers who wanted 5G services until there was more certainty about the situation. EE, a unit of British Telecom and Britain’s largest cellphone carrier, will open its 5G network next week, and had planned to offer Huawei phones along with Samsung and OnePlus handsets for the service.

Huawei responded to actions by EE and Vodafone by saying: “We value our close relationships with our partners, but recognize the pressure some of them are under, as a result of politically motivated decisions.”

The decisions by the British networks indicate that Huawei could feel the effects of the battle with the United States in the region that brings it the most revenue outside China. Just over half of Huawei’s revenue comes from China, while 28.4% comes from Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Huawei is a small player in Japan, which is dominated by Apple’s iPhone and Japanese manufacturers like Sony and Sharp.