The US government is said to be looking for ways to pump money into Huawei’s European rivals amid concerns about the Chinese firm’s dominance in the race to roll out 5G.
Officials have explored ways of issuing credit to Nokia and Ericsson to enable them to match the generous financing terms that Huawei offers its customers, the Financial Times reported, citing two people with knowledge of the situation.
The move represents an escalation of the US’s campaign against Huawei, which is the world’s largest provider of telecoms equipment.
President Donald Trump has added the Chinese tech giant to a trade blacklist, accusing the firm of acting as a conduit for spying by authorities in Beijing.
“We gave up our superiority in making telecoms equipment decades ago, and now we are realising that this might not have been the best choice for national security reasons,” one government official told the newspaper.
“Almost every department and agency is desperately looking right now for ways to get back into this game. If we don’t, Huawei could soon be the only option for anyone wanting to roll out 5G networks.”
In addition to boosting European rivals, some officials in Washington are said to be pushing for a new domestic challenger.
US firms such as Cisco and Oracle have been asked to enter the market, but have rejected the suggestion saying it would be too expensive and time-consuming, according to the report.
Last month US politicians outlined plans for a $1bn (£805m) fund that would help telecoms firms to replace equipment made by Huawei.
But Trump’s administration has also urged US allies to exclude the Chinese firms from its next-generation networks and to turn to rivals Nokia and Ericsson instead.
The UK is yet to issue its final verdict on the subject, but EE and Vodafone have already launched their 5G networks using Huawei equipment.
Huawei, which has always denied allegations of wrongdoing, has played down concerns about the impact of the US trade ban.
Founder Ren Zhengfei last month said his company was already producing equipment without US parts, adding that Huawei would be willing to licence its 5G technology to a US company.
The White House declined to comment to the Financial Times.
Main image credit: Getty