Japanese, Taiwanese cellcos suspend Huawei device sales

23 May 2019

The first crop of Asian operators have responded to the US trade ban on Huawei and its implication for Huawei's access to the Android OS by freezing sales of new Huawei devices.

Japan's KDDI and SoftBank have both revealed plans to postpone the planned launch of Huawei's new range of smartphones, which had initially been scheduled to launch this month, the Japan Timesreported.

Meanwhile NTT Docomo has announced it will stop taking orders for the new devices, but has not yet announced plans to suspend the scheduled launch of a new high-end Huawei handset.

But Huawei has insisted it will continue offering services and support for its existing products in Japan without disruption despite the decision.

Meanwhile in Taiwan, Chunghwa Telecom and Taiwan Mobile have both revealed they plan to stop selling Huawei devices after their current stocks sell out, Taiwan Newsreported. The operators no longer intend to launch the latest crop of Huawei devices.

The US Commerce Department last week officially added Huawei to the list of companies covered by president Donald Trump's executive order declaring a state of emergency. The presidential declaration gave the government powers to regulate commerce by prohibiting US companies from trading with foreign companies deemed to present a national security threat.

This decision has prompted a number of key Huawei suppliers to announce they will stop trading with the vendor – including Google, which said it will comply with the order and cut off Huawei's access to Android.

The Commerce Department has subsequently issued a 90-day reprieve allowing companies to continue trading with Huawei, but only to provide products and services required to maintain existing solutions.

But Huawei will still be prohibiting from using all but the open source version of Android in new devices, and risks losing access to Google's suite of services for even its existing devices after the 90-day window.

Huawei has contingency plans in place such as its own operating system, which it has been developing for some time and promises at least some compatibility with Android apps, as well as its own app store.

The Chinese vendor has repeatedly denied any suggestion that the Chinese government could use its equipment to spy on foreign nationals.

Image: iStock Photo

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