Two major mobile carriers said Wednesday they will postpone sales of new smartphone handsets produced by Huawei Technologies Co. after Washington effectively banned U.S. firms from exporting components to the Chinese tech giant.
KDDI Corp. and SoftBank Corp. have both said they will put off sales of Huawei’s new smartphone models for their Au and Y!mobile services respectively, which were initially scheduled to begin later this month.
Another major mobile carrier, NTT Docomo Inc., said the same day it will stop taking orders for the new Huawei handsets, although the company said last Thursday it will launch a new high-end Huawei model in the summer.
KDDI and SoftBank said they made the decision as it remains unclear whether U.S. technology giant Google LLC will continue providing services, including its Android operating system, to the Chinese smartphone-maker following the declaration of a national emergency over technology threats by U.S. President Donald Trump last week.
Trump said the government was banning American companies from using telecom technology and services provided by entities deemed a national security threat, a move apparently targeting Huawei.
U.S. officials this week, however, issued a 90-day reprieve on the ban on dealing with Huawei, saying breathing space is needed to avoid huge disruption.
“We need to check whether our customers will be able to safely use Huawei smartphones amid concerns over Google’s (future) moves,” a SoftBank spokesman said.
Google said Tuesday in a statement it will be able to provide software updates and security patches to existing Huawei smartphones as the U.S. Commerce Department eased restrictions to let American firms offer maintenance work to the Chinese firm for 90 days.
Still, concerns remain over services for Huawei’s new smartphones as it is uncertain whether popular applications offered by Google such as Gmail and YouTube can be used on the handsets in the future.
The developments come despite Huawei’s efforts to ensure it will continue offering services without disruption.
“There will be no impact on our existing products and services,” Wu Bo, Huawei Device Co.’s regional president covering Japan and Korea, told reporters on Tuesday in Tokyo.
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 U.S. restrictions, according to the Chinese media.
The Chinese mobile phone manufacturer had the fifth-largest smartphone shipment volume in Japan in the year ended in March, accounting for 6.2 percent of the total, after Apple Inc., Sharp Corp., Sony Mobile Communications Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co.
Information from AFP-Jiji added