U.S. Wants Oversight of Sprint-Softbank Network Purchases
In order to win U.S. government approval of its equity sale to Softbank, Sprint may have to allow government officials to unofficially greenlight networking equipment purchases. According to sources cited by The Wall Street Journal, the intent of the provision would be to keep Chinese suppliers Huawei and ZTE from selling their gear to U.S. companies. The U.S. government has long been wary of allowing Huawei and ZTE to provide telecommunications infrastructure due to fears about espionage. Sprint is selling 70% of itself to Japanese network operator Softbank for $20 billion. The Journal notes that any such provisions could not be spelled out explicitly, as that would violate international trade law, and would instead only require Sprint to let the government know when it is making telecommunications gear purchases. A law signed by President Barack Obama last week included a new cyber-espionage review process for U.S. government technology purchases. This law more explicitly states that the U.S. government needs to approve of IT purchases made by NASA, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Department of Commerce. The intent behind this new law is the same as that being applied to the Sprint deal: the government wants to be able to restrict the sale of Chinese networking equipment to U.S. agencies. Huawei spokesperson Bill Plummer said to the Journal, "The adoption of such a policy would seem little more than a market-distorting political or protectionist exercise."
ZTE Blade Force for Boost Mobile Boasts HPUE
ZTE today announced the Blade Force smartphone for Boost Mobile. This Android handset includes support for Sprint's High Performance User Equipment technology and two-channel carrier aggregation for better performance near the cell edge.
U.S. to Suspend ZTE Export Sanctions
The U.S. Department of Commerce has agreed to temporarily lift sanctions it levied against ZTE, allowing its suppliers to resume some exports to the Chinese company.
Justice Department to Reveal More About Dirtboxes
Government officials at the U.S. Department of Justice have agreed provide more information about how law enforcement uses dirtboxes to collect location data on cell phones.
China Opposes US Action Against ZTE; ZTE Phone Biz Safe
China's Ministry of Commerce says the U.S. Department of Commerce's plan to prevent ZTE from exporting American-made components will be bad for Chinese firms.