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Huawei gets US gov nod to supply Clearwire network

Things not so rosy for Cisco in China though...

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There was some good news for Huawei in its ongoing tussle with US lawmakers after wireless broadband provider Clearwire said it had received government approval to upgrade its network using kit from the Chinese tech giant.

The firm is an existing customer of Huawei and said it would be continuing the relationship to upgrade its network to LTE, according to a statement seen by Reuters.

The statement continues that Clearwire made its decision in consultation "with the technical arms of multiple federal agencies" and that it has "great respect for the US government and their oversight role over the nation's infrastructure".

The firm did say, however, that less than 5 per cent of its budget for the upgrade would be going to Huawei.

A report from US lawmakers earlier this month warned that the Shenzhen-based firm and its local rival ZTE pose a "national security risk" after being unable to alleviate investigators’ concerns about state interference in their affairs.

Clearwire’s largest shareholder is Sprint Nextel, whose customers gain access to its networks thanks to a wholesale agreement. Sprint, which is currently being bought by Japan’s Softbank, provides services to the US government.

On the other side of the world, US networking giant Cisco could be facing the opening salvo of a Chinese backlash against Huawei and ZTE’s treatment by Washington.

Local reports suggest that state-run telco China Unicom has removed Cisco CRS core cluster routers from its ‘169’ backbone network node in Jiangsu Province due to security concerns.

The 169 is apparently one of China’s two key backbone networks, with Cisco providing a whopping 80 per cent of the kit to build it.

This figure could be significantly reduced in the future, however, over worries about vulnerabilities and backdoors in its products – similar to the concerns that were raised about Huawei and ZTE's kit.

China Unicom couldn’t immediately be reached to confirm the news. ®

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