Verizon officially set to drop sales of Huawei smartphones

US security agencies and some lawmakers fear that 5G phones made by companies that may have close ties to the Chinese government could pose a security risk

Verizon officially set to drop sales of Huawei smartphones

Bloomberg reports that Verizon has dropped plans to sell Huawei phones in the US. Earlier this month, AT&T pulled out of a deal with Huawei to sell the Mate 10 Pro after receiving similar pressure. And while the company makes a variety of devices that can directly compete with the likes of Apple's iPhone X and Samsung's Galaxy Note 8, in the us, at least, it's been hobbled by lawmakers that fear it's too closely connected with the Chinese government. Huawei will instead sell the Mate 10 Pro in the US through third-party retailers, such as Amazon and Best Buy.

As was the case with AT&T, Verizon has felt a considerable amount of pressure from the US government in this regard, and it looks like Big Red's decision stems from that pressure.

Last month, 18 lawmakers signed a letter asking FCC chairman Ajit Pai to look into Huawei's plans to sell consumer products in the U.S., citing concerns from congressional intelligence committees.

Verizon declined to comment on the report.

Phones are just the latest lightning rod for a much broader conflict between the US and China that dates back more than a decade. We've also contacted Huawei for comment and will update this article when we hear from them. It's the same reason AT&T dropped its deal with Huawei to offer the Mate 10 Pro on January 8.

Huawei is the third largest smartphone manufacturer in the world and China's largest maker of telecommunications equipment. Instead, Huawei wants to expand its smartphone presence around the globe, and that includes expanding its operation in the U.S. But at this year's CES, Richard Yu, chief of Huawei's consumer business group, defended his company and slammed USA carriers.

Trump's national security team looked for ways to to accelerate the deployment of American 5G networks, "apparently concluding that the current deployment plans are too slow and too limited for national security purposes", Blair Levin, a policy adviser to New Street Research, wrote in a note. "Everybody knows that in the USA market that over 90 percent of smartphones are sold by carrier channels".

The relationship between the US government and the Chinese smartphone maker has been complicated for years. Verizon will likely not be selling any other 5G-capable smartphones Huawei might launch in the future. The Snowden leak pointed to spy work the US was doing on Huawei and surveillance on foreign citizens.

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