Rural operators in the United States rank among Huawei and ZTE's largest customers. They fear that the executive order would also lead them to pull out equipment already manufactured in China without compensation. Industry officials disagree as to whether the administration could force operators to do so.
While major US carriers have broken the link with Huawei in particular, small rural airlines have relied on Huawei and ZTE switches and other devices as they tend to be cheaper.
The company is so central to small carriers that William Levy, Vice President Sales of Huawei Tech USA, is on the board of directors of the Rural Wireless Association.
The RWA represents carriers with fewer than 1
The RWA fears that an executive order could force its members to remove ZTE and ZTE from Huawei's equipment and also block future purchases, said Caressa Bennet, RWA General Counsel.
It would cost $ 800 million to $ 1 billion for all RWA members to replace their Huawei and ZTE equipment, Bennet said.
April gave its first approval to a decree that companies that purchase equipment that is considered a threat to United States national security support federal funding to support the telecommunications infrastructure, according to analysts on Huawei and ZTE aims.
The FCC is also considering whether carriers must be asked to remove equipment from companies classified as a national security risk.
In March, FCC chairman Ajit Pai said, "hidden backdoors" o Our networks in routers, switches, and virtually all other types of telecommunications equipment can make hostile governments inject viruses, denial-of-service attacks
Pine Belt Communications of Alabama estimated that it would cost $ 7 to $ 13 million to replace China-made equipment, while Sagebrush of Montana said the replacement would cost $ 57 million Cost dollars and take two years.
Sagebrush has found that Huawei products are considerably cheaper. When looking for deals in 2010 for its network, the cost of Ericsson devices was nearly four times that of Huawei's.