It seems that Huawei is facing another roadblock in its attempt to break into the US market. Earlier in the month, we heard that AT&T was walking away from a deal that would see it offer Huawei phones like the Mate 10 Pro in stores, supposedly under pressure from the US government. Today, we’re hearing that Verizon has opted to go a similar route in regards to the Chinese hardware manufacturer.
That report comes from Bloomberg, which spoke to unnamed “people familiar with the matter.” Those sources claim that Verizon has dropped plans to offer Huawei phones at the insistence of the US government. Essentially, it seems the biggest impact will be on the Mate 10 Pro, which was introduced back at CES 2018 but now finds itself without any carriers willing to sell it.
We’ll likely see a US version of the Mate 10 Pro offered unlocked through retailers like Amazon and Huawei itself. Assuming you buy a Mate 10 Pro through one of those channels, you should still be able to activate it on the mobile networks belonging to Verizon and AT&T, so Huawei isn’t being locked out entirely. Still, having access to direct sales by way of shelf space inside carrier stores would have been a big win for Huawei, but now it looks like that might not happen.
At the center of this pressure from the US government are fears of Chinese spying. Yesterday, we heard that the National Security Council had recommended a nationalized 5G network to help bolster network security in the US, but it wasn’t long before the Trump administration squashed such rumors, with the NSC saying that such an idea was never seriously considered.
Regardless of whether or not the recommendation of a nationwide 5G network was ever more than just a fleeting suggestion, it’s clear that the US government is hesitant to see businesses give wide access to Chinese-made hardware. For now, neither Verizon nor Huawei have offered a comment on these rumors. We’ll see if Huawei can still manage to break into US markets, but right now, the prospect of that is looking grim.