Qualcomm to supply Huawei with 4G products
Qualcomm, the North American software and semiconductor multinational, has been granted a license from the US government to sell 4G hardware to Huawei Technologies.
However, the spokesperson revealed the parts were related to mobile devices but declined to comment on the type of 4G products Qualcomm can sell to Huawei. They added that Qualcomm has other license applications pending with the US government.
Other US companies have also applied for trade licenses that will allow them to sell to Huawei, including Micron Technology and Intel.
The move comes amidst rising trade tensions between the US and China as Qualcomm, along with all other American semiconductor companies stopped selling components to the Chinese technology firm following US trade restrictions in September.
Previously, Huawei was a minor chip customer for Qualcomm, which is the world’s biggest supplier of mobile phone chips. The Chinese technology firm used its own house-designed chips in its premium devices and placed Qualcomm chips in lower-end handsets.
But Huawei’s ability to create its own chips ended following September’s US trade restrictions. These blocked the company’s access to chip design software and fabrication tools. Analysts say Huawei’s supplies of chips acquired before the embargo may run out in early 2021, halting its smartphone business.
Some commentators also believe the ban on chip sales was enforced on tenuous grounds because it wasn’t related to preventing espionage. , editorial director of the online trade publication Telecoms said, “The latter [the US chip ban] was ostensibly about preventing political espionage.”
He continued, “The rationale given was more to do with industrial espionage, but on that basis then surely all Chinese companies should be banned from buying anything American”
Bicheno added that the new US presidency was unlikely to have a major impact on the embargos, although the approach to issuing licences would probably become more relaxed. He said, “The Biden presidency, assuming Trump’s legal efforts fall short of overturning the election result, may well take a less adversarial position on China. The precedent has been set, however, and Biden won’t want to seem to be ‘soft’ on China, so while much of Huawei’s smartphone business now has a lifeline, it may still be excluded from the 5G era.”
Bernstein analyst also said the Qualcomm license won’t help Huawei’s current problem because it only covers the sale of 4G chips and consumers are moving towards 5G devices. He added that US officials have not yet granted Qualcomm a license for selling 5G chips.
UK NFIB issues warning over mobile phone scams
The UK’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has issued a warning to mobile phone users after being made aware of an ongoing mobile scam involving customers being “cold-called” by individuals impersonating employees of mobile network operators and suppliers.
What is the mobile network scam and what happens?
According to the organisation, the scams include offers of early handset upgrades, or new contracts with significant discounts. The NFIB says that, once scammers have convinced the customers that the deals are genuine, they then ask for online mobile account credentials, home addresses, bank account details, logins, and passwords.
Using these details, the suspects then place orders with genuine companies on the victims’ behalf, before selecting a different handset to the one requested, and sending it to that victim’s home address.
Once the victims have received the handsets, the suspect then explains that it was made in error, instructing them to send the handset to a different address not associated with the company they claim to be calling from. The NFIB says that these addresses are normally residential.
The final stage involves the scammers intercepting the supposedly returned devices before ceasing all contact with the victim, leaving them with no phone and no mobile network contract.
Since January 2020, the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has received over 300 reports of this particular scam, reporting losses exceeding £86,000. So what can you do to protect yourself?
How to protect yourself from a mobile network scam
- If the caller asks about mobile upgrades and network contracts, hang up without giving out any personal information if you are unsure as to whether the call is genuine or if you think that the person calling is not from the company they claim to be from.
- Only contact your mobile network provider using a number that you know is correct. But what if you don’t know? There are usually contact details such as this and including a phone number on the operator’s official website.
- If you receive a device or handset that you didn’t order, contact the genuine sender immediately, the details of which will be displayed on the parcel or package the device was shipped in.
- NEVER post a device to an unknown address. Genuine employees of mobile networks would not ask you to do this and would always send a jiffy bag or empty package for you to return the device without any additional charges.
Any incidents can be reported to Action Fraud at http://www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.