Japanese operator SoftBank Corp welcomed approval of its 5G network by the US State Department, after it excluded Chinese vendor Huawei as a next-generation radio equipment supplier in 2019.
In a statement, SoftBank said the US awarded its network a “clean” status as part of the nation’s Clean Network initiative. The operator added it would “endeavour” to build 5G networks which use equipment from trusted network vendors.
The State Department’s initiative is part of its worldwide effort to have Chinese vendors excluded from participating in 5G rollouts.
On its website, the State Department describes a clean network as one that “addresses the long-term threat to data privacy, security, human rights and principled collaboration posed to the free world from authoritarian malign actors”, such as the Chinese Communist party.
SoftBank announced in May 2019 it had selected Ericsson and Nokia as its 5G radio equipment suppliers, excluding Huawei despite trialing its next-generation kit: the operator had also used Huawei and ZTE equipment in its 4G network.
Its exclusion from 5G was however widely expected after the country’s operators said they didn’t plan to deploy gear from Huawei and ZTE, following a ban by Japanese government agencies.