back to article What price security? Well, for the US ban on Huawei/ZTE kit it's around $1.8bn, and you're going to pay most of it

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says that performing a full replacement of all Huawei and ZTE hardware on American wireless networks will cost $1.837bn in total. The figure was released as part of a Friday report [PDF] from the Commission into the use by carriers of gear from the two Chinese vendors, which have …

  1. raving angry loony

    Evidence? Anywhere?

    Has anyone, anywhere, presented any evidence that the Huawei and ZTE hardware does what they claim it does? Or is this just another example of American corporate warfare being carried out by their bought-and-paid-for puppets in government?

    1. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

      Re: Evidence? Anywhere?

      Chinese carriers are "encouraged" by their government to use Chinese-made equipment. But this is done "quietly".

      The difference with the American policy is broadcasting this across the world and "encouraging" American allies to follow the edict "or else".

      It does not help that the American-branded equipment are all made in China, where labor is very cheap, but cost double the price (or more), less feature and less "user friendly".

      1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

        Re: Evidence? Anywhere?

        The main difference isn't that American policy is "Buy American" and shouted loudly, but that it's "Fuck China".

        And it's fuck everyone else who won't climb aboard Trump's anti-China economic terrorism trade war bus.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Evidence? Anywhere?

          No it's only fsck China if the name sounds Chinese to redneck voters.

          Lenovo and Motorola are still allowed

          1. chivo243 Silver badge

            Re: Evidence? Anywhere?

            If I'm not mistaken, Motorola does a tiny bit of work for the DoD. I highly doubt the US gubbermint will be so fast to 86 them.

        2. bombastic bob Silver badge

          Re: Evidence? Anywhere?

          Yes, comrade, we must NOT anger our communist overlords...


          1. raving angry loony

            Re: Evidence? Anywhere?

            bombastic bob writes: "Yes, comrade, we must NOT anger our communist overlords..."

            Oh, I'm sure they're ecstatic that the US and other "western" nations have devolved to a government run "you're guilty" model that bypasses anything resembling due process, with a press that simply repeats those claims without any kind of investigation.

            Sounds familiar...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Google Play Store

      I don't think there is any actual proof, but suspicion is enough if your basis for decision making is Alex Jones screaming about gay frogs, and QAnon the 8Chan guy (see NYT link).)

      But business is business and money finds a way around this nonsense.

      Example: Look at the Google Play Store ban on Huawei. Huawei devices ship without Google Play Store right? Sadly no! The dealers simply install it for you. I found that one out myself with a mediapad M6, I got one from MBK and didn't double check it.

      See the "Google Play" logo on the picture of this tablet? Beware the dealer has likely pre-installed Google Play on that tablet.

      But sure, you 'technically' do not get Google Play Store access with a Huawei tablet.

    3. _LC_ Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Evidence? Anywhere?

      "Or is this just another example of American corporate warfare being carried out by their bought-and-paid-for puppets in government?"

      Your forgot their most important assets: "their bought-and-paid-for puppets" in the media.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Evidence? Anywhere?

      What Huawei HAS done or WANTS to do has no bearing on what they can be LEGALLY BOUND to do just for being a company headquartered in China.

      Look no further than what the People's Republic of China forced Hong Kong to LEGALLY do just by passing the National Security Law (NSL) in Hong Kong.

      The law singles out “collusion with a foreign country or with external forces to endanger national security,” which is so broad it could cover something as simple as criticizing Beijing in an interview with a foreign reporter. Under the law, Beijing even claims the power to charge foreign nationals for acts committed overseas, and indeed has already attempted to do so. Those convicted can receive life imprisonment.

      The government suggested that 600,000 Hong Kongers may have violated the NSL by voting in an informal primary for democracy activists. If the goal of the ballot was “objecting or resisting every policy initiative of the government,” Lam said, “it may fall under the category of subverting the state power—one of the four types of offenses under the national-security law.” The police subsequently raided the offices of the polling organization that ran the vote.

      Last month, 92 percent of those surveyed by the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union said they felt government pressure and had a negative view of the educational system’s future; 80 percent avoided sensitive subjects in the classroom.

      Under the National Security Law (NSL), a person who “receives instructions” from a foreign country to commit the act of “imposing sanctions against the HKSAR or the People’s Republic of China” (PRC) commits a criminal offence. Recently, some foreign countries have taken steps towards imposing sanctions against the HKSAR, PRC and their officials. International banks and financial institutions in Hong Kong are worried that they may be in breach of Article 29(4) if as a result of their regulatory obligations they must give effect to these sanctions in their ordinary business operations.

      This means if the US requires US banks to impose sanctions on people within HK/China, if those companies enforce those sanctions while in HK, the banks have committed a crime because enforcing sanctions against HK/China is a crime according to the National Security Law.

      The government and other companies in Hong Kong are just doing what they are legally bound to do. They might not WANT to do it, but are LEGALLY BOUND to.

      1. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

        Re: Evidence? Anywhere?

        I'm sorry: nowhere in your post did you mention "orange man bad" so your post has been marked as wrong think.

        1. BigSLitleP

          Re: Evidence? Anywhere?

          Actually it was probably marked down because it is full of whataboutism and nothing related to the original question of "is there any evidence....".

    5. Potemkine! Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Evidence? Anywhere?

      Of course there is. Look at Pai's statement :"By identifying the presence of insecure equipment and services in our networks[...]". Isn't his word enough for you? You are really unpatriotic and unamerican if you don't believe him. Or your are a chinese agent. In anyway a threat to the US Security, you terrorist. Wait for the black helicopters, they should come soon for you.

  2. CrackedNoggin

    The silver lining is that an open standard for interfacing the various components is going to be enforced - "openRAN".

    It will allow mixing and matching of hardware components where previously single vendor vertically integrated system was standard practice.

    Additionally, it will allow software to be used between hardware components - perhaps comparable to using software for routers which has turned out to be a practical winning strategy in many cases.

    Standard interfaces and component interchangeability seems like a wonderful thing for industry, for quality, and for pricing in the long run.

    1.8 billion is only about $7 per cellphone in the US, but I would not be surprised to see customers ending up paying many times that amount. That however is a problem with finance and marketing leeches, not with the technology.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Chinaware Infestation

    Clearly certain Chinese IT businesses have been co-opted by the Chinese Communist Party. Huawei is one.

    There is no reason the rest of the world should submit to their intrusions, spying, data theft, assaults and manipulation.

    Eliminating their spyware and corrupted hardware is simply the cost of weeding the garden.

    Let's move on...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Chinaware Infestation

      Care to post some tiny little shred of evidence before moving on to some higher level of your witch hunt?

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Chinaware Infestation

        Well all the US tech companies were infiltrated by the US govt according to the Snowden leaks so you have to assume that the Chinese ones are

        1. StickThatInYourPieHole

          Re: Chinaware Infestation

          That's not evidence. As you've stated, that's an assumption.

    2. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Chinaware Infestation

      Co-opted for what puirpose?

      The Chinese Communist Party serves the same purpose in China as the Democratic and Republican parties serve in the US. These parties represent the ruling ideologies for their countries. This has nothing to do with a company selling product internationally; Huawei doesn't make and sell product for nefarious purposes, it does it to make a profit. It got a foothold in the telecoms infrastructure in the US by serving a segment of the market which our established corporations didn't find profitable enough to be bothered making the investment in servicing them. Its a classic exmaple of how capitalism is supposed to work. This market toehold allowed Huawei to grow and within a fairly short space of time it became a major global player in a market we thought we dominated. Hence all the fuss about 'security'.

      Personally, I put it down to the fact that currently lobbyists and politicians are cheaper to hire than product development specialists.

      1. paulmedynski

        Re: Chinaware Infestation

        No, the Chinese government stole Nortel's industrial secrets and gave them to Huawei, which allowed them to dramatically underbid Nortel (and others) to gain a foothold in Western telecom networks. Nortel subsequently went bankrupt, and left a huge void that Huawei and ZTE have been filling in. Huawei was founded by a former PLA engineer shortly before China hacked Nortel and started stealing their secrets. At the time 70% of the world's telecom and internet traffic was serviced by Nortel equipment. Huawei's success over the past 15 years is not an accident or even the result of superior tech. They are virus who invaded the West and have been killing its competition and growing ever since.

        1. StickThatInYourPieHole

          Re: Chinaware Infestation

          "Huawei was founded by a former PLA engineer"

          Utterly ludicrous argument. How many former military will be working in civi street now? Is going to have their knives out and have it in for the USA?

          As a thought experiment maybe you could estimate how many former US military would now be in civi street working as engineers or run businesses in the tech industry.

          This is just typical of arguments presented by Trump & Co. It's utter BS and full of paranoia.

        2. smalldot

          Re: Chinaware Infestation

          May I suggest a podcast called "Malicious Life". Ran Levi is an amazing host and the episodes contain his analysis of cyber security topics. In two latest episodes (season 3), Ran tells the story of the Great firewall of China. And how it was built. Ran Levi interviews people and tells what happened. He leaves it to the listener to make their own judgement based on facts.

          Can you guess which companies competed against each other to get to build China's totalitarian surveillance system from ground up when China's internet market opened two decades ago? Who made lucrative deals to provide network equipment, engineered monitoring of every Chinese net user and connected Chinese police and authorities to the system? Who trained Chinese engineers to operate and continue expanding the system? Answer is Western companies of course. And Nortel made more deals than anyone else.

  4. Pete 2

    Make hay while the chinese spy!

    > we can now work to ensure that these networks—especially those of small and rural carriers—rely on infrastructure from trusted vendors,

    Because those really are the people that China would be eavesdropping and spying on! Haystack technology will lead to world domination.It is vitally important for China to continue stealing the secrets of rednecks and farmers, in order to gain the upper hand in nuclear development, the other sort of pharma and space technology.

    On that subject: look! China has just launched its version of Boing's X37. I bet the secrets of that were leaked from an unsecured conversation between Billy-Bob and his cousin / wife.

  5. Eclectic Man Bronze badge

    The long game

    The PRC generally plays the long game in international relations. President Xi expects to outlast President Trump, even if he wins a second term. There may not be any hard evidence that Huawei equipment contains the specific features needed to spy on whoever employs it, but electronic telecommunications equipment is horrendously complicated, finding carefully concealed features would be next to impossible.

    If I were running the attempt to infiltrate the Western telecoms infrastructure, I wold make sure that the first three generations of equipment were completely clean, and only when I had lulled the West into a sense of security would the next generation of equipment include specific spyware or sabotage ware (like the ability to switch off foreign internet services, for example, or control power stations, power grids, traffic light systems etc.).

    But as far as trusting the PRC and Huawei right now, don't forget that the PRC still considers the 'return' of Hong Kong under the 'one country two systems' agreement, as extortion dating all the way back to the Opium war. (A reminder, the Opium war was fought so that the UK could sell opium to Chinese people, thereby making the UK wealthy and Chinese people helpless addicts.). Why should they trust 'us' and not try to do to us what we did to them? Not a happy thought, and I don't really have a solution, so I'd appreciate what others think about this. (Hopefully I am wrong an everything is beautiful, really.)

    1. Claverhouse Silver badge

      Re: The long game

      I really doubt if Opium made 'helpless addicts', the most noticeable effect was making them less productive. As for the moral issue of selling drugs to those who want them, by the start of the 20th century the Chinese were then producing 85% of the world's opium [ 35,000 [ long ] tons --- same government which objected to the foreign devils doing so.

      And around 1879 the British and Americans and every other importing country reached the peak import of 6,700 [ long ] tons [ 14,560,000 lbs ]. To a population nearing 500,000. Which would be .47 of an ounce each yearly.

      Bearing in mind the dubious statistics of temperance and anti-tobacco fiends, which ignore the fact that whilst a population might drink 1000 gallons of whisky a year, many people don't touch the stuff, leaving some to do the heavy lifting by drinking 12 X the average: one can conclude only a small proportion of the 'Chinese people' were in danger of buying imported opium [ if they could afford it on a coolie's wage ], any more than most of the population ever saw a westerner back then.



      1. StickThatInYourPieHole

        Re: The long game

        Imagine if a country waged war on your home country now and forced your country to buy Crystal Meth. And then some clever dick on the interwebs just shrugging it off as, meh, not really that many people will be effected.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The long game

      "The PRC generally plays the long game in international relations."

      Given China's recent behaviour, I'd say that bit is past tense. China is making a lot of noise at the moment and that worries me. I think any nation that threatens to usurp the US, economically or militarily, faces a great deal of risk from the US itself i) won't take it lying down and ii) will likely take the first pretext to armed conflict it can find. I think this goes right to the heart of the fairly overt right-wing coup going on in Washington (not to mention seeking to make Russia more an ally).

      I think the fireworks are looking pretty inevitable.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: The long game

      "There may not be any hard evidence that Huawei equipment contains the specific features needed to spy on whoever employs it"

      long game might include "UP"grades later. You know, like how Windows was "up"graded to INCLUDE SPYWARE, etc..

  6. ThatOne Silver badge

    You're going to pay most of it

    > and you're going to pay most of it

    Don't we always...

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: You're going to pay most of it

      And if there is any resale value, somebody else will reap the benefit.

  7. FrenchFries!

    Blame it on Pai

    FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is to blame. He's just... dumb (allegedly).

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: Blame it on Pai

      There's a name that has faded to the background of late.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Liar to boot.

  9. Sloppy Crapmonster

    I thought we were going to build a firewall

    And have China pay for it.

  10. Sparkus

    To be fair, **everything* that the 'government' mandates, legislates, regulates, and spends is ultimately paid for by the individual. There is no such thing as 'government money'.........

    1. Alumoi

      O'really? After they take it out of your pocket it's their money. and they can spend it on whatever the fuck they want and you can't do anything about it.

      Oh, sorry, you can moan and bitch and that's all.

  11. DCFusor Silver badge


    FWIW, a couple billion might look big to some people who don't know the US 2020 fiscal budget was:

    "The federal budget for the 2020 fiscal year was set at $4.79 trillion.",was%20set%20at%20%244.79%20trillion.

    I don't know if that includes the extra couple trillion of stimulus recently spent. It doesn't include the underfunded medicare/SS, I believe.

    At any rate, 1.8e9 / 4.79 e 12 = .0004, which times 100 is .04%.

    Wow, that's a huge deal. /sarc

  12. Sense Amidst Madness

    Rip out the the thieving, genocidal Communist Party tech from all US networks. I'll gladly pay my share of tax dollars to see that happen.

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