‘Improving’ US mobile infrastructure may allow Chinese players to join US market

4 min read

Huawei executive revealed that it could now possibly collaborate with Tier One US carriers again after regulations on security concerns have eased and improved.

However, it is more than and beyond the gradual alterations on the country’s mobile security policies. According to William Plummer, Huawei VP of external affairs for the US market, the country’s mobile infrastructure market has improved dramatically in the last two years as lawmakers’ views on market consolidation and technological evolution shifted from US-centric to global.

“There’s [now] a much clearer understanding of how networks work,” Plummer told Fierce Wireless. He explained that the improving comprehension and views on current tech innovations among political and regulatory officials have already surpassed “eclipsing geographical, border-based solutions.”

In 2012, a U.S. government report named several China-based network vendors like Huawei and ZTE as among the security threats that could possibly be utilised as entry point and conduit of Chinese hackers. Although the companies opposed the accusation, a large section of laws concerning mobile infrastructure has been amended, barring Chinese-owned players from working with Tier One (T1) carriers in the country.

In the past months, Huawei has been able to provide network infrastructure equipment to companies in various cities such as Washington and Oregon, an immense leap from 2012. Now, even giant carriers like AT&T and Verizon have expressed enthusiasm over including Huawei in the pool of players competing to be their suppliers.

For Plummer, the country’s momentous shift to software and virtualisation could be a start of renewed relationship between Chinese players and US government, making the local mobile market a free commerce to every entrepreneur. Since most carriers are now migrating to software- and cloud-based network architectures, software sales no longer fall under the same security concerns where hardware belongs. This, in turn, opens new opportunities to Huawei.

For instance, the openness of India, which is among the largest mobile market in the world, has allowed US-based network enhancement provider 5Barz International (OTCQB: BARZ) to present its products and services in the country without facing policy-related problems. The company has enjoyed immense attention from several T1 companies in India after seeing 5Barz’s plug-and-play device.

The revolutionary radio-frequency network enhancer is seen as an effectual solution to the country’s call drop problem. For years, despite economic progress, India’s mobile network infrastructure remained among the weakest in the Asian region.

“For the local network providers, our easy-to-install and use product, which, promises to extend a mobile phone’s signal anywhere in the country, is a perfect solution they could offer to their loyal customers while the government conducts improvement in the country’s telecom infrastructure,” CEO Daniel Bland said.

Bland also revealed that his company is also planning to collaborate with US carriers. However, the company is currently focused on countries with massive mobile network problems. “Like Southeast Asia, for example. This year we plan to talk with carriers in various part of this region. Solving their problems world increase our clout and brand reputation, especially when we decide to expand to Europe and North America in the near future,” he added.

Moreover, the enactment of FirstNet bill into law in 2012 would also open more doors to various players in the telco segment in the country. FirstNet, which plans to build, operate and maintain the first high-speed, nationwide wireless broadband network dedicated to public safety across all 56 US States, is now heating the game up between leading US carriers. The $7 billion budget allocated for its implementation could boost the carriers’ brand reach and presence in the country.

“I think everybody’s kind of waiting to see the request for proposal’s out,” Neville Ray, EVP and CTO of T-Mobile US, told the press. “I’ve met with that [FirstNet] team multiple times now. I think they are very keen to try and engage with a wireless operator now, because they believe that trying to do this on their own or through third parties or whatever else just isn’t going to work. So there’s a lot of operator engagement coming from the FirstNet team.”

By 2020, the US is also expected to be one of the first countries to effectively utilise 5G.

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Tony Simon

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