China’s Huawei has faced difficulties in the U.S. network equipment market, but it has established a presence. In 2012, a report by the U.S. government identified Huawei as a potential security threat that could serve as an indirect pathway for Chinese espionage. Although the Chinese company has faced a roadblock with Tier 1 U.S. carriers due to this national security concern, it continues to have solid relationships with smaller Tier 2 and 3 U.S. carriers.
These smaller carriers include SpeedConnect and United Wireless. SpeedConnect is a wireless service provider started in 2002 that controls the 2.5GHz spectrum across the Great Plains and Midwest. SpeedConnect has worked with Huawei for approximately three years in deploying services its customers use with satellite TV offerings from DirecTV or Dish Network. SpeedConnect started working with Huawei before the national security issue arose, and its managing partner, John Ogren, indicated he has not seen any indications of the security problems mentioned in the news media.
United Wireless is a carrier that operates on the 700MHz and 1900MHz spectrums in the southwestern part of Kansas. It has also been working with Huawei for about three years. According to the wireless operations manager, Michael Laskowsky, United Wireless has never had any issues related to security. Laskowsky said that they considered the security issue, but they just believed that Huawei’s product fit their needs better than anyone else.
Although it has made headway with smaller, rural carriers in the U.S., Huawei is shifting its focus. In comments to the news media, Huawei’s CEO, Ren Zhengfei, mentioned that the company will spend more energy on European companies instead of continuing to try to overcome the security concerns of large U.S. companies.