US Approves Government Aid to Keep Huawei and ZTE Out
The US telecoms regulator FCC has approved a support package of almost two billion dollars. That should help small American operators to replace equipment from Huawei and ZTE.
The Chinese network manufacturers have been no longer welcome in American telecom networks for a while. This means that operators are no longer allowed to use new equipment and that their existing network infrastructure must eventually be free from Huawei and ZTE.
This is financially difficult, especially for small operators. In addition to major players such as AT&T, T-Mobile or Verizon, dozens of local mobile operators provide mobile coverage in specific areas. Sometimes it concerns players who have less than a hundred thousand customers. They are often dependent on government support anyway, so they don’t feel like investing in a replacement of their network
A $700 million grant package was reviewed in 2019, but the FCC later estimated the cost at nearly $2 billion. That is why the regulator has now agreed to a $1.9 billion support package for those local operators, Reuters writes.
The threshold for eligibility will also be lowered. Until now, it has involved operators of up to two million customers. From now on, US operators with fewer than ten million customers can request financial support to replace Chinese network equipment.