US spends $5.6 bn on replacing banned Chinese cellular equipment

The US ban on Chinese firms like Huawei and ZTE has cost American network providers $5.6 billion as they ripped and replaced cellular equipment provided by the Chinese tech companies.

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairperson Jessica Rosenworcel told Congress that providers had applied to be reimbursed $5.6 billion for “ripping and replacing” equipment deemed insecure by the US government.

In September, 2020, the FCC estimated that the effort would cost $1.8 billion.

US President Joe Biden in November signed the law to ban Chinese tech companies like Huawei and ZTE from getting approval for network equipment licences in the country.

Last year, the FCC designated Huawei and ZTE as national security threats to communications networks, thus making it harder for the US firms to buy equipment from them.

“We’ve received over 181 applications from carriers who have developed plans to remove and replace equipment in their networks that pose a national security threat,” Rosenworcel tweeted on Saturday.

“While we have more work to do to review these applications, I look forward to working with Congress to ensure that there is enough funding available for this programme to advance Congress’s security goals and ensure that America will continue to lead the way on #5G security,” she added.

The US sanctions have also hit Huawei hard and the company warned in December that it will see “serious challenges” in 2022 amid “politicisation of technology”, and further “deglobalisation”.

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