The Department of Commerce has given U.S.-based Huawei suppliers 90 days to continue to supply parts to the Chinese manufacturer. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a prepared statement that this move will give network operators time to “make other arrangements” and will give Commerce “space to determine the appropriate long-term measures for Americans and foreign telecommunications providers that currently rely on Huawei equipment for critical services.”

The DOC action came in the form of a Huawei temporary general license (TGL) issued yesterday that authorizes “certain specific, limited engagement involving the export, reexport and transfer of items” to Huawei for 90 days. The 90-day period began yesterday.

The move follows the DOC’s decision last week to prohibit technology sales to Huawei. The DOC said it made that decision because the information available to the department “provides a reasonable basis to conclude that Huawei is engaged in activities that are contrary to U.S. national security or foreign policy interests.”

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Ross called out “rural broadband providers” in yesterday’s press release about the Huawei temporary general license, stating that the temporary general license will allow those providers to continue operations – at least until Commerce determines its next step.

Major U.S. carriers that offer service nationwide have shied away from using Huawei equipment since concerns that the company might be able to use the equipment to spy on the U.S. first arose several years ago. Some smaller carriers have used Huawei’s broadband and mobile equipment, however, as that equipment tends to be less costly than equipment from other providers – at least upfront.

The U.S. government has stopped short of requiring carriers to replace Huawei equipment already installed in their networks, but as yesterday’s DOC action illustrates, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for service providers using Huawei to maintain business as usual.

The full text of the DOC document about the temporary general license can be found at this link.

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