Japanese mobile carriers postpone sales of new Huawei smartphones

A senior Huawei employee said the company is planning to introduce its own operating system for its smartphones, possibly this fall, as a countermeasure to the US restrictions, according to the Chinese media.

They had announced the launch of Huawei's Mate 20 X 5G smartphone when they turn on their 5G networks in May and July respectively, but Marc Allera, chief executive of BT's EE mobile operator, told City A.M. today that "we have put it on pause".

At the same time, Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo reported that the US State Department has repeatedly pressured South Korean authorities to stop using LG Uplus Corp equipment "in sensitive areas", because the company utilises some of Huawei's hardware. "Negotiations can only continue on the basis of equality and mutual respect", Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng told a weekly briefing.

"The challenge we have at the moment is we don't have enough clarity on whether our customers are going to be able to be supported over a timeframe of a two or three-year contract", Allera said.

The Trump administration softened its stance slightly this week by granting the firm a licence to buy United States goods until Aug 19 to minimise disruption for customers.

As a result, future Huawei smartphones will not be installed with the latest version of Android, unless Huawei is given a special licence by the United States government.

Huawei denies such claims and says it is independent from the Chinese government. He is required by Chinese law to do that.

The companies said they are holding off amid uncertainty about devices from the world's No. 2 smartphone maker.

"How the U.S. ban on business with Huawei will impact the Chinese firm's performance is at this point unclear, but what is clear to me is that its sales will be negatively affected", said Hiroyuki Kubota, an independent financial analyst.

TOSHIBA CORP: The Japanese conglomerate said on May 23 it had suspended shipments to Huawei to check whether its products included USA -made components.

The firm's founder Ren Zhengfei has downplayed the impact of USA curbs on Huawei, but early signs suggest the fallout could be significant.

He said Huawei had a long-term agreement with ARM and speculated the British firm had made such a move because its parent, Japan's SoftBank Group Corp, was waiting for USA approval for the merger of Sprint Corp, which it owns, and T-Mobile US Inc.

A Panasonic official declined to comment on what business the Japanese firm would continue to do with Huawei, though reports said the suspension would have a limited impact.

No further trade talks between top Chinese and US negotiators have been scheduled since the last round ended on May 10, the same day US President Donald Trump sharply increased tariffs on US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods and took steps to levy duties on all remaining Chinese imports. The sales ban is part of a broader trade war between Washington and Beijing.