Huawei has now confirmed that it still has every intention to license its 5G technology to a US company if it can find any takers. Taking to Twitter, the revelation was made in response to a CNBC story and tweet outlining the country’s options in the absence of Huawei’s networking solutions.
Huawei’s official account responded to reiterate that the story missed one option. Specifically, Huawei referred back to its previously made offer to license its technology to US companies. That option, Huawei says, was never taken off of the table.
What would Huawei’s offer mean for the state of 5G in the US?
News about Huawei’s offer to license its 5G technology to US companies is nothing new. The initial offer of that option was put up by the Chinese tech giant back in September of 2019. In the ensuing months, several companies within the region seriously considered taking Huawei up on its offer. But no companies stepped forward.
In short, Huawei was offering to sell access to its technology without getting directly involved. Both long-term and short-term deals were under consideration. That would have allowed US companies to pay Huawei for help in catching up with the company on next-gen networking.
The Chinese tech giant described its license offer when it was put forward to include proprietary 5G tech. That would include everything from source code and software to verification, production, and manufacturing ‘know-how’.
Huawei presently stands apart by a wide margin, leading the 5G charge well ahead of its rivals. None of those rivals is based in the US. Licensing its technology to a US company would help spur the creation of a US-based rival.
It would also help to keep standards universal since Huawei is still involved in the creation of 5G networks elsewhere in the world. That’s an important aspect of its offer. Many US companies, including preeminent mobile chipset manufacturer Qualcomm, have rallied in support of Huawei’s involvement in 5G. At the heart of the matter, it’s argued that universal standards will suffer if Huawei is kicked out of the loop entirely.
Huawei’s offer reflects that sentiment. The deal was put forward under terms that would have only allowed a single US company to license the Huawei 5G technology. That would give the US a rival and universally consistent standardization on 5G without giving the proprietary tech away wholesale.
Why can’t Huawei directly compete in the US markets?
Huawei’s offer primarily stems from the fact that it can’t compete directly in the US. Although the company’s trouble in the US started well before, it was effectively banned from the US as of early 2019. The company was, at the time, added to an entity list that at various points has kept it from interacting with US companies to any extent.
The move to ban Huawei has been widely viewed as a political maneuver associated with a larger, ongoing trade war with China. But the company has also been accused of potentially acting as a spy agency for the Chinese government. Huawei has consistently denied those claims and others.