There's good news and bad news for Huawei, and its wholly owned NZ subsidiary, in the latest developments form the US.

The bad: Huawei New Zealand has been added to a blacklist of companies that US firms are banned from selling products services to, as part of the Trump administration's ongoing push to disable the Chinese technology company.

Huawei subsidiaries in Australia, the UK and 43 other countries have been added to the blacklist.

The good: the Chinese company has another 90 days before the ban comes into effect, with the US government also keen to minimise the disruption to consumers and businesses as a result of Huawei's kit being removed from US networks.


"The continuation of the temporary general licence is intended to afford consumers across America the necessary time to transition away from Huawei equipment, given the persistent national security and foreign policy threat," US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said.

"As we continue to urge consumers to transition away from Huawei's products, we recognise that more time is necessary to prevent any disruption."

When the ban does come into effect, the ban will stop US firms like Android software and app store operator Google doing business with Huawei and its affiliates. It will also stop chip makers such as Intel, Broadcom and Netcomm - who collectively sell around US$12 billion a year in components to Huawei - from doing business with the Chinese company.

The ban will hit both Huawei's next generation of smartphones (current models are not affected) and the gear it makes for mobile and landline networks.

The blacklisting of Huawei NZ could further complicate Huawei's efforts to be involved with Spark and 2degrees' 5G upgrades.

In November last year, the GCSB blocked an application by Spark to include Huawei gear in its 5G (fifth generation) mobile network upgrade.

Huawei has offered various compromises, including not bidding for the core of the network, sweeping inspection provisions and staff being banned from direct access. But nine months on, Spark has yet to take up the government's invitation to submit a revised 5G proposal.

On June 22, outgoing Spark boss Simon Moutter told the Herald it would be "pointless" to resubmit, given Huawei's export ban complications.


And yesterday, new chief executive Jolie Hodson said Spark's 5G launch, slated for July 1 next year, was still on track.

"Rollout plans will not be impacted by decisions beyond Spark's control around Huawei's
participation," she said.

Huawei recently threatened to leave the country if the GCSB ban remained in place.

Yesterday, Hodson said her company had a "multi-vendor" strategy in place.

Spark has also used gear from Sweden's Ericsson and American company Cisco for a trial 5G cellsite on Auckland's waterfront.

Earlier this week, Vodafone NZ said it had received the greenlight for its 5G upgrade - using Finland's Nokia Networks as its primary technology partner. The company says it will upgrade 100 cellsites around Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown to 5G by December.

Huawei NZ earlier emphasised it was "business as usual" for its current range of smartphones.

For Spark, Hodson emphasised that her company's upgrade would be a multi-year process.

And new 2degrees boss Mark Aue said he was confident issues with Huawei would ultimately be resolved. 2degrees has yet to set a date for its 5G upgrade, though Aue indicated it could be years away, with "4.9G" upgrades used as an interim step.

A Huawei spokesman told the Herald this morning, "We oppose the US Commerce Department's decision to add another 46 Huawei affiliates to the Entity List including Huawei New Zealand.

"It's clear that this decision is politically motivated and has nothing to do with national security. These actions violate the basic principles of free-market competition. They are in no one's interests."

Today's decision won't have a substantial impact on Huawei's business either way, the spokesman said.

"We felt it was predictable that Huawei New Zealand would eventually be added to the Entity List and are therefore well prepared. Like our customers, we operate in an agile manner and have adapted our business so we are able to continue to support and deliver excellent products and services to our New Zealand customers.

"Huawei remains committed to New Zealand and its customers here."