The U.S. Defense Department recently joined the ranks of government agencies seeking to restrict Chinese-made mobile devices due to security fears.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Pentagon officials plan to ban the sale of Huawei and ZTE phones at retail locations on or near U.S. military bases worldwide.
A department spokesman told the paper in a statement that devices made by those companies “may pose an unacceptable risk to the department’s personnel, information and mission.”
“In light of this information, it was not prudent for the department’s exchanges to continue selling them,” added Army Maj. Dave Eastburn.
The move would not make much of an impact on those companies’ overall sales — just 2,400 such devices were sold at the locations catering to U.S. military personnel on or near its bases — but it would represent another battle over the ability of Huawei and ZTE to access the U.S. market.
Huawei, one of the world’s top makers of smartphones and telecom equipment, previously sought partnerships with major U.S. carriers in an effort to break into the market, while ZTE, the Journal noted, comprises nearly 10 percent of phones shipped in the U.S.
Government officials, however, long expressed concern about the ties between those companies and the Chinese government — and the potential for using mobile devices and equipment to spy on Americans.
In addition, the FCC is moving to ban Universal Service Fund aid from going to companies deemed national security risks, and the Journal reported this week that the Trump administration is weighing executive action on the sale of telecom equipment.
Eastburn also said the Pentagon is considering issuing a warning to all military personnel about purchasing or using Huawei or ZTE devices.
Filed Under: Industry regulations