Various countries, led by the U.S., express concerns about Huawei and ZTE’s ties to the Chinese government, leading to bans or restrictions on the company’s 5G tech and smartphones. Authorities claim that Chinese companies threaten national security because the use of their equipment in networks gives the Chinese government potential backdoor access for espionage, cyberattacks and intellectual property theft.
In the US, a ‘rip-and-replace’ program mandates that American companies tear out telecom equipment made by the Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE. The Federal Communications Commission finalized a $1.9 billion program to subsidize the cost for small telecommunications companies, but actual costs have exceeded $5 billion dollars.
Concerns over Chinese companies’ role in global telecommunications infrastructure underscore the geopolitical implications of mobile technology and 5G network infrastructure.