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Exclusive: Huawei Has First Talks with US Companies about Licensing 5G Platform



WASHINGTON WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Huawei, a blacklisted Chinese telecommunications company, is currently in talks with some US telecommunications companies about licensing its 5G networking technology, Huawei's manager said Friday to Reuters.

Vincent Pang, the company's senior vice president and board director, said some companies had expressed interest in a long-term business or one-time transfer and declined to name or quantify the companies.

"There are some companies that talk to us, but it would take a long journey to really finish everything," Pang said during a visit to Washington this week. "They showed interest," he added, saying the talks were only a few weeks old and not yet detailed.

The US government feared customers could be spied on with Huawei devices and ran a campaign to convince its allies to shut them out of their 5G networks. Huawei has repeatedly denied the claim.

There are currently no US 5G vendors, and European competitors Ericsson ( ERICb.ST ) and Nokia ( NOKIA.HE ) are generally more expensive.

In May, Huawei, the world's largest telecommunications supplier, was blacklisted for national security concerns. He was forbidden to buy parts made in the US without a special license.

Washington has also filed criminal charges against the company alleging bank fraud, breaches of US sanctions against Iran, and theft of trade secrets that Huawei denies.

Rules issued by the Department of Commerce earlier this month are expected to effectively ban the company from the US telecommunications supply chain.

The idea of ​​a one-time fee to access Huawei's 5G patents, licenses, code and know-how was first raised by CEO and founder Ren Zhengfei in interviews with the New York Times and the Economist last month laid the table. So far, however, it was not clear whether there was interest from US companies.

In an interview with Reuters last month, a State Department official expressed skepticism about Ren's offer.

"It is simply not realistic for network operators to take over this equipment and then manage all the software and hardware themselves," the person said. "If there are software bugs that are built into the original software, you can not necessarily say they're there, and they can be activated at any time, even if the software code is passed to mobile operators." the official added.

Pang declined to predict if a deal could be signed. However, he warned that the R & D investment needed to continuously improve the platform after a one-time transfer from Huawei would be very costly for businesses.

Huawei has spent billions since 2009 to develop its 5G technology.

(Additional coverage by Ken Li and Karen Friefeld, editors Chris Sanders and Sandra Maler)


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