ZTE can breathe another sigh of relief, as the Trump administration temporarily lifted a portion of its ban on the Chinese smartphone maker. The ease of restrictions was given to ZTE as the US government begins its deliberation on the seven year ban it imposed on the company back in April 2018.
The partial lifting of the ban will allow ZTE to continue supporting already existing and deployed equipment, as well as consumer devices within the country. This means that ZTE is allowed to service its infrastructure, while also allowing the company to deliver security patches to devices that were sold before its ban came into full effect.
While the Trump administration has been in favour of allowing ZTE to resume its operations in the US, it should be noted that not all lawmakers in the US agree with the decision. Some lawmakers see the lifting of the ban on ZTE as a threat to national security. As a result, they are pushing to have harsher penalties applied to the company.
The temporary lifting of the ban begins today and will be in effect until 1 August 2018 (2 August 2018 for us). While still uncertain, it is expected that the ban will be fully lifted after the company agreed to paying a hefty US$1.3 billion (~RM5.26 billion) fine, as well as adhere to some strict compliance and restrictions put forth by the Trump administration.
ZTE was banned by the US government back in April 2018, when it was discovered that the company had been selling its telecommunications equipment to Iran and North Korea – countries that are still on the US sanctions list. The ban prohibits ZTE from purchasing any components made by US companies, such as Qualcomm and Intel. The ban essentially left ZTE with no choice but seek out components from non-US sources, such as Taiwan-based chipmaker MediaTek.