Just a couple of days after Huawei found its way onto a U.S. government trade ban list, the telecommunications giant has been given a 90-day reprieve. The Commerce Department has issued a Temporary General License (TGL) to allow Huawei and its 68 non-U.S. subsidiaries to continue "certain activities necessary to the continued operations of existing networks and to support existing mobile services, including cybersecurity research critical to maintaining the integrity and reliability of existing and fully operational networks and equipment."
Commerce Department grants a temporary general license for Huawei telecom equipment (dramatization)
The temporary reprieve seems to have made continued operations easier for two major pieces of Huawei's business: telecommunications gear used in cellular towers and Android smartphones. In the Commerce Department's announcement, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said, "In short, this license will allow operations to continue for existing Huawei mobile phone users and rural broadband networks."
In response to the Commerce Department's decision, Google has resumed working with Huawei on Android updates and has put its plans to cut the company off on hold, according to CNBC. A Google spokesperson told CNBC, "Keeping phones up to date and secure is in everyone's best interests and this temporary license allows us to continue to provide software updates and security patches to existing models for the next 90 days."
For its part, Huawei seemed unconcerned about the both the TGL and the Commerce Department's restrictions in the first place. The Wall Street Journal reported that Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei says the TGL is "not a very big deal" and says that Huawei was prepared for this conflict. In an interview with Chinese state-run media excerpted by the South China Morning Post, Zhengfei called the dispute "inevitable." He also claimed that the ban had no impact on Huawei's 5G plans and boasted that the company has a two-to-three year lead over its rivals.