Huawei claims it’s rid its 5G base stations of US components

via Flickr © Janitors (CC BY 2.0)

via Flickr © Janitors (CC BY 2.0)

  • It expects to produce 1.5 million 5G base stations next year
  • But it would also like to return to using US suppliers because of ‘emotional ties’
  • Meanwhile there's an awful lot of subscribers in Brazil, so Huawei may be interested in Oi

Reuters is reporting that Huawei is now making 5G base stations using zero U.S. components and that, “nah-ne nah-ne nah-nah,” it now plans to double its production as global 5G deployments ramp up next year. 

Note that “US components” may not be exactly the same thing as “all Chinese” components, which is clearly the ultimate and urgent goal for Huawei. 

Huawei claims that it has been testing its kit through August and September and from October it plans to start to scale production. It expects to more than double this year’s total next year, when it says it will produce 1.5 million units. 

Huawei has played a rather clever game here. Right from the start of the US embargo its statements have, if anything, emphasised the losses it expected to sustain because of it and it’s desire to get back on an even keel relationship with the US and its industry.

In a recent statement Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei, even went as far as saying that he would like to return to using US components because of Huawei’s ‘emotional ties’ with its established US suppliers. Even allowing for something being lost in translation, that seems like a stretch. What’s going on?

Clearly it’s to Huawei’s advantage to leave the door open and its bridges un-burnt as long as possible while it gets its replacement components assembled. Emphasising how much hurt it is experiencing may also make it less likely that Trump will double down and impose more sanctions or mobilise more countries to take action against Huawei - at least while he still thinks he has a chance of forcing some sort of deal from the Chinese government. Any “Only a flesh wound!” response to US trade measures would surely result in another swing of the sword. 

Meanwhile, in another sign that it may be more ‘business as usual” at Huawei than US sources would like to believe, Huawei’s name has been linked to the current telecoms turmoil in Brazil (see - Oi's plan to sell out of mobile makes some sense with 5G around the corner) where Reuters reports that the Chinese vendor has linked up with China Mobile to look at  buying Brazilian carrier Oi SA, or perhaps a big piece of it. With 5G looming Oi’s 224,000 miles of fibre infrastructure is thought to make an attractive proposition and a way for Huawei to get a larger ‘footprint’ in Latin America.

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