Breather for ban-battered Huawei

Huawei has been granted a temporary licence that allows US businesses to export technology or services to it Picture supplied

Mere days after slapping a trade ban on Huwei, the US Department of Commerce has given the China-based tech multinational a breather in the form of a temporary licence that allows US businesses to export or transfer technology or services to Huawei for 90 days.

The grace period, which runs from 20 May until 19 August, 2019, applies to existing devices and infrastructure, not any new products. This means Huawei can continue, for now, to buy components and software from the US to maintain smartphones, switches, base stations and other gear already in use around the world.

Kevin Wolf, a lawyer and former Department of Commerce official, told Reuters that the move should not be seen as backtracking on the part of the US government and was most likely a measure aimed at preventing internet, computer, and cellphone systems in the US from crashing.

It will nevertheless come as a relief to Huawei customers, including hundreds of thousands of South Africans who own its smartphones. They faced the prospect of Android operating system updates, security patches and support for the Google Play Store coming to an end after US-based Google suspended Huawei’s Android trading licence.

Reacting to the ban on Monday, 20 May 2019, Huawei said it would continue to provide security updates and after-sales services to all its existing smartphone and tablets, as well as those from sister brand Honor.

The 90-day temporary licence will make this a significantly easier task and give the company time to put in place longer-term alternatives to Google’s services should the trade ban not be permanently reversed. –