Telecoms ask FCC for $5.6 billion to replace ZTE and Huawei equipment

Photo (c) Oleksandr Siedov - Getty Images

Officials say consumers who have phones from those brands should consider replacing them

Several U.S. telecoms are asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to pay them $5.6 billion for “reasonable expenses” they incurred after removing ZTE and Huawei ZTE and Huawei from their networks.

Previously, officials designated Huawei and ZTE as “national security threats” and voted in concert to ban U.S. carriers from offering service from either company and demanded that their equipment be replaced. The FCC originally thought it would cost carriers more than $1.8 billion to satisfy the order, so it set aside $1.9 billion. However, the telecom companies say that number only covers about a quarter of what they need.

“Last year Congress created a first-of-its-kind program for the FCC to reimburse service providers for their efforts to increase the security of our nation's communications networks,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.  

“We’ve received over 181 applications from carriers who have developed plans to remove and replace equipment in their networks that pose a national security threat. While we have more work to do to review these applications, I look forward to working with Congress to ensure that there is enough funding available for this program to advance Congress’s security goals and ensure that the U.S. will continue to lead the way on 5G security.”

Consumers beware

Since the FCC has banned ZTE and Huawei, people who own one of those brands' devices would be smart to start shopping for a replacement.

Raymond, from Danville, Penn., told ConsumerAffairs that he recently purchased a ZTE device and had trouble activating it. Eventually, he took it to a Verizon store for assistance.

"The person there attempted to activate it took my prepaid card and after 45 minutes told me he could not activate it and handed it back to me. I tried returning it without luck," Raymond wrote in a ConsumerAffairs review. "I'm out over 100 dollars and still have nothing."

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