Huh? Is VOA saying the U.S. has dropped the Huawei ball?

That was my first take on the new VOA Chinese-language report titled “U.S. Sanctions on Huawei Achieve Initial Results, But Outlook Still Not Optimistic (美国制裁华为初见成效,但前景仍不容乐观),” dated May 11, 2022.

The opening paragraphs do explain the rather startling title, and the body of the report is far less provocative, focusing first on the recent news about Cellcom dropping O-RAN and its wider implications, followed by a more general assessment of U.S. success to date regarding Huawei sanctions. Pretty good read once you catch your breath.

Admittedly, the VOA report is a bit off topic for this space, but in another sense not. Note the Liaowang quote on the splash page of this blog which lays out the competitive thrust of Digital China: “Whoever can better understand and grasp the general trend of digitalization, and better adapt to and lead the developmental direction of new forces of production, will be able to win the new omnidirectional competition for comprehensive national power.”

5G is one of the early technical markers for Beijing regarding the “general trend of digitalization.” And where and how this resolves itself is still playing out – as the VOA title reminds us.

A lightly-edited DeepL machine translation of the first few paragraphs of the VOA report follows:

WASHINGTON – The recent announcement by a local U.S. wireless network operator to abandon the open 5G network technology initiated by the U.S. government in recent years in favor of redeploying legacy 5G equipment is a potentially worrisome sign for the U.S. push for an “Open Radio Access Network” (O-RAN) architecture to replace Huawei equipment.

华盛顿 — 最近美国一家地方无线网络运营商宣布放弃美国政府近年来发起的开放式5G网络技术,转而重新部署传统的5G设备,这对美国大力推动“开放式无线电接入网”(Open Radio Access Network,O-RAN)构架来替代华为设备的努力来说无疑不失为一个潜在的令人担忧的迹象。

From former President Trump to the current Biden administration, the U.S. has launched several rounds of sanctions against Huawei since 2019 and has warned other countries not to use Huawei-related products. In the great power game competition between the U.S. and China, the Huawei dispute is not only about who will dominate the next generation of mobile communications technology, but also a concentrated reflection of the battle for technological and even geopolitical influence between the two countries. After several years of unremitting efforts by the two governments, analysts say that, in general, the United States cutting off the Huawei chip supply and other measures have been quite successful, but also still faces many serious challenges. In addition, the United States to replace Huawei equipment and strongly advocate the open O-RAN architecture also needs to be further tested in the market.

从前总统特朗普到目前的拜登政府,美国自2019年起已经对华为发起了多轮制裁,并警告其他国家不要使用华为的相关产品。在美中两国的大国博弈竞争中,华为之争不仅涉及到谁将主导下一代移动通信技术,同时也是两国科技、乃至地缘政治影响力之争的集中反映。在历经两届政府几年来的不懈努力之后,分析人士称,总的来说,美国切断华为芯片供应等措施相当的成功,但也仍面临很多严峻的挑战,此外,美国为取代华为设备而大力提倡的开放式O-RAN构架也有待市场的进一步检验。

High hopes for O-RAN

寄厚望于O-RAN

Cellcom, a provider of network services in Wisconsin and Michigan, began deploying O-RAN network equipment in 2018 and was one of the first companies in the U.S. to begin practicing the emerging concept. But the company recently said it decided to abandon its efforts in this open source and open concept-based network technology solution after several years of effort due to issues such as cost and equipment availability.

威斯康星州和密歇根州的网络服务供应商蜂窝通信(Cellcom)从2018年开始着手部署O-RAN网络设备,是美国最早开始践行这一新兴概念的公司之一。但该公司最近表示,在历经几年努力之后决定因费用和设备供应等问题放弃在这一基于开源和开放理念的网络技术解决方案。