back to article Huawei masters the great vanishing act as UK sales evaporate

Huawei’s latest financial results for UK operations bear the claw marks of devastating multi-year sanctions levied against it by the US government and the British administration’s efforts to expunge the Chinese vendor’s kit from local 5G networks. All of these actions to clip the wings of Huawei - one of the major success …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It ain't just sanctions. It's also that a lot of their network kit is frankly awful.

    A few years ago I was involved with a large rollout of customer premise routers to replace outgoing Cisco kit.

    The customer in question had superannuated Cisco kit, mostly 857 and 867 kit. The replacements were Huawei 157 and 169F routers. This kit was clearly intended to look like Cisco kit and function like Cisco kit, without actually being a copy of Cisco kit. It did not however function like Cisco kit. While the outgoing Cisco gear could go from cold to fully functional in less than 3 minutes the Huawei kit would take four times as long. Huawei kit was much more prone to just freezing and needing a reboot. Huawei kit was harder to configure and also had a nasty habit of randomly losing a random liner or two of config for no reason.

    I always got the feeling that it wasn't finished. Almost like it was still in Beta. Needless to say after about a year of trouble with the new kit the company decided to replace all the Huawei kit with Cisco 88x units.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Possibly true for routers, but their radio network kit had capabilities miles ahead of the opposition.

      But all radio kit is effectively Beta, regardless of the supplier - it's impossible to cover all propagation interactions in a lab - so it's likely us RF folk have lower expectations!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        But their routers and switches have a terrible reputation. Even without the sanctions they would have b lost loads of sales as a result.

        You may think that you should use best of breed for every part of your network, but there are reasons why you don't do that. One is that interoperability can be a problem, standards notwithstanding. The other is more in terms of the operation of the business rather than the network. It's much easier to buy all your kit from a single provider especially when it's a big project.

    2. Johnb89

      So it didn't still say 'copyright Cisco' in the Huawei firmware?

      At one point, IIRC, Huawei totally developed their own software and firmware for routers and such from scratch, but thoughtfully included 'copyright Cisco' anyway. This was some time ago, and at least rumours at the time. I can't say that I know its true.

      I presume these weren't quite that old?

      (Writing as a disgruntled ex-Nortel person, regarding the rumours that Huawei might have accidentally stumbled upon much IP, code and such, back in the day. So finding it hard to feel sorry for Huawei now.)

    3. hairydog

      Their routers may well be pants. Certainly the firmware in thier mobile modem/routers is a bit clunky.

      But my goodness thier RF stuff is way ahead of the competition. Huwaei phones work where other brands can't even connect to the network,

      And my experience of ther laptops and tablets is that they are way better than anything else on the market.

      I'm told (but have no evidence) that Huawei telecoms kit (such as FTTC cabinets) is far more reliable than the other brands.

      Seems to me that Huawei have committed the sin of being successful but not being American.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "But my goodness thier RF stuff is way ahead of the competition. Huwaei phones work where other brands can't even connect to the network,"

        Makes me wonder if they aren't jacking the power level up beyond safe levels if they can connect where others can't.

  2. Barry Rueger

    A loss to end users

    Have to say that my Huawei phone was hands down the best I've ever owned. Features I wanted, few crap apps that I didn't, and rugged.

    However, I understand fully that political posturing must take precidence over the best interests of mere mortals.

    1. jollyboyspecial Silver badge

      Re: A loss to end users

      You're welcome to buy a Huawei phone if you want. The sanctions don't affect phones.

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: A loss to end users

        It does affect the ability to have the Google Play Store on it though?

        Most of the less popular apps are only available on Google and Apple, and you will have some of them, just not the same ones as everyone else.

      2. Barry Rueger

        Re: A loss to end users

        In Canada at least they've disappeared entirely under a sea of Samsung, Apple, and nothing else.

        And, as noted, no Play store....

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A loss to end users

        "sanctions don't affect phones"?

        Apart from not being allowed to produce their own chips, buy 5G chips from other companies, or use Google services that is. Of course none of those are important in a phone :-/

    2. ChrisC Silver badge

      Re: A loss to end users

      Yep, still getting sterling service out of the P20 Pro I bought 5 years ago.

    3. abend0c4

      Re: A loss to end users

      I still have one of their (former) Honor branded phones which turned out to be incredible value given the number of years I've used it. Their laptops also get very good reviews: they're also frequently discounted, perhaps because, like me, potential buyers have more recently become uncertain about long-term support.

      1. HarryBl

        Re: A loss to end users

        Huawei sold off Honor last year (?). They're now a separate company and have Play Store on their newer phones.

    4. asphytxtc

      Re: A loss to end users

      I absolutely agree, I miss my mate 20 pro dearly.. it was up there with my all time best phones ever. Not only their phones either, based off that experience both me and my Mrs have Matebook 14s which is a FANTASTIC laptop! I also have a mateview 34 which is an awesome ultrawide display.

      Every single Huawei product I've owned has been, hands down, brilliant.. the price to quality ratio is great, and every single one has been reliable to a fault.

      I'll be buying Huawei for as long as I can... If the Chinese gov are really that interested in my secret latex porn and piss fetish, then I hope they get some enjoyment out of it at least...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    >is due to fears about the company’s ability to spy on businesses and citizens on behalf of the Chinese government, and handover requested data to the Middle Kingdom's Communist Party when demanded.

    I suspect that is not entirely true. More likely that the kit is good and getting better and cheaper. Which means Western entities are worried about the competition, losing market share and soon being overtaken and left straddling in the technology race. And hate to see billions of £'s, $'s and Eu going to prop up the chinese economy.

    Oh, and maybe the fact it has no backdoors for the western entities to use for spying might be a factor too.

    And maybe, we are worried about giving the Chinese massive insights into how our networks are built and configured and where the weakspots are?

    Somehow, I think the possibility of the chinese using it to spy on our Ebay and pron habits is pretty low on the agenda.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I suspect that is not entirely true. More likely that the kit is good and getting better and cheaper."

      Huaweis kit is certainly cheaper but the impression is that they are subsidised by the CCP and may not have complied with existing IP agreements.

      The real fear from western countries is being left with only Chinese voice options because of Huaweis dominance.

    2. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

      No, it's entirely possible, and easier than you'd think. However, this is not limited to Huawei gear. All telecom networking gear has the ability to spy baked right in. It's just a matter of who is on the receiving end of that spy network. Western gear, western spies.

      And the thing about this is, the next world war will be East vs West, with East being China and possibly Russia should they survive Ukraine. Best to limit access to Eastern nations now rather than later when the shooting* starts.

      *Assuming here we don't jump straight to nukes, in which case I will wel

  4. VoiceOfTruth Silver badge

    Please stop repeating the lies, or tag your articles as "fake news"

    -> due to fears about the company’s ability to spy on businesses and citizens on behalf of the Chinese government

    No. It is due to Huawei being better and more advanced and cheaper than American companies. That is it. The USA only likes competition when it is winning the competition.

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Please stop repeating the lies, or tag your articles as "fake news"

      Thanks for the call out. There seems to be a bunch of stock phrases that journalists are required to put in articles, this 'spy on behalf of the Chinese government" being one of them. This particular statement has been discredited time and again but its not just the steady drip, drip or propaganda like statements that's the problem. The issue is credibility. By repeating these canards unthinkingly all we are doing is demonstrating our relative ignorance to the world at large -- we might convince the faithful inside our own echo chamber but it sounds silly outside of it. Since El Reg is primarily a technical site it needs to steer clear of anything that might undermine its credibility.

      This kind of "they're coming for you" isn't anything new. It was alive and kicking in the early 80s, a desperate need to keep computers from the Russians. (Go back and look at old articles....) The difference between then and now is back then we had the keys to advanced technology. These days 'they' do -- its as if we've stood still and the rest of the world has gone on without us.

      1. RedGreen925

        Re: Please stop repeating the lies, or tag your articles as "fake news"

        The difference now is the theft of anything not nailed down by both of them plus their lapdog North Korea. Between them all they steal anything and everything they can get their hands on eliminating the middle man to producing it all for next to nothing using the slave labour they have. Does not help the parasite corporations here are more than happy to help them along with the efforts in the quest for more cash for their bonuses by taking advantage of the slave labout and next to no environmental standards.

        1. PhilipN Silver badge

          Re: Please stop repeating the lies, or tag your articles as "fake news"

          And Huawei stole 5G from where? Do tell.

      2. David Nash Silver badge

        Re: Please stop repeating the lies, or tag your articles as "fake news"

        Isn't it the case that the given reason is due to spying fears, even if there is most likely another reason (competition).

        In which case the article should report both and explain.

  5. gnasher729 Silver badge

    I highly recommend the Huawei Viewmate 4K+ Monitor. 18 percent more pixels than 4k monitors. Best monitor available unless you want to pay more than twice as much for a 5k monitor.

  6. PeterGriffin

    As with much in America at the moment, the notion the Chinese government is putting backdoors in systems just reflects American endeavours:

    1. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

      Yes, puts a rather HUGE hole in claims that China can't spy using backdoors into Huawei gear, doesn't it? It amazes me how many people here refuse to accept that China can and will spy every chance they get, but have no problem accepting that America does so.

      As an American, I can tell you beyond the shadow of a doubt that yes, we're spying on everyone. We spy on friends and enemies alike. You WILL be spied upon. Even if you start your own in-nation telecom equipment company and roll it out, your own government will require backdoor access. It's not a question of being spied upon, it's a question of who you want to be doing it. At least America shares the same general values as western European nations. Not to mention, when the shooting starts we're the ones you want on the inside shooting out, not the ones on the outside shooting in.

  7. DustFox

    let them try to call in underground

    Huawei made it possible with a fraction iof cost to exapnd all the GSM networks underground. Before that itt was impossible. But what is the U.Kmarket if compared with the world market? Huawei will expand and thrive because they make the best equipments and they invest in tech. As fir the museum U.K let them with their love on the other side of the Atlantic figure out what a woman is first.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Loss of business for PRC is a win for the free world

    It's clear that the PRC controls all enterprise in china, and has a belt and road strategy to dominate enterprises in all parts of the world that are supid or weak enough to allow that. Their disregard for fair trade, intellectual property, democracy and human rights is a grave threat to anyone who disagrees.

    The only vote you have with the PRC is not to buy their 'cheap' products, so not support their dominance objective.

    Obviously the value you put on your freedom is a high price to pay. In the last century we paid for our freedom with millions killed and injured. The PRCs unlimited friends are killing 100,000's in their illegal war in Ukraine. The resulting cost of living crisis is a small taste of the impact of unchecked state aggression.

    Military 'exercises' in the south china sea tell you what to expect from a PRC enterprise success.

    Safeguard your freedom, don't buy. Do explain why sovereign capability is worth investigating in.

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