Licences to work with Huawei will be coming soon, according to U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
Speaking to Bloomberg, Ross said that they “will be forthcoming very shortly,” adding that the U.S. government has received 260 licence applications.
“That’s a lot of applications — it’s frankly more than we would’ve thought,” Ross said in an interview with Bloomberg. “Remember too with entity lists there’s a presumption of denial. So the safe thing for these companies would be to assume denial, even though we will obviously approve quiet a few of them.”
Ross did not explicitly say how many licences the government intends to approve, nor did he mention a timeline.
In this process, most people will be paying attention to Google and whether or not the tech giant will be able to work with Huawei again.
In May, U.S. President Donald Trump banned Huawei from working with any U.S.-based company. Shortly after, Google pulled its business from the company, which includes pulling services from Huawei phones.
In June, the government slightly lifted the ban and said that companies can apply for a licence but those would be reviewed closely and would only be granted if a national security threat is not posed.
The U.S. has accused Huawei of using backdoor equipment to spy on citizens. It has also charged the company, its subsidiary Skycom and its CFO Meng Wanzhou 13 counts of bank and wire fraud. Meng, who was arrested in Vancouver, is currently under house arrest in the province as she awaits her extradition to the U.S.
Because of the ban, Huawei has been forced to release its own operating system and has not been able to confirm whether or not its next smartphones will be released in other countries. The Mate 30, Huawei’s most recent smartphone release, lacks Google services.
Shruti Shekar is a telecom and tech reporter for MobileSyrup. She was formerly a political reporter at The Hill Times based in Ottawa and prior to that was a communications officer for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. She loves reading, the Raptors, and all the alcohol.