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Exclusive: T-Mobile, Sprint, see Huawei shun clinching AMERICAN deal – sources

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – T-Mobile US Inc and Sprint Corp believe that their foreign owners offer to stop the use of Huawei equipment will help with the United States, clearing their $26 billion merger deal, sources said, with the emphasis on the length that Washington has gone to a shut-out of the Chinese company.

FILE PHOTO: People walk past a Huawei store in Beijing, China, December 11, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/Photo File

Like all large U.S. wireless carriers, T-Mobile and Sprint will not use Huawei equipment, but their majority owners, Germany’s Deutsche Telekom AG and the japanese SoftBank Group Ltd, respectively, using some Huawei gear in the overseas markets.

People familiar with the deal between T-Mobile and Sprint, the third and the fourth largest U.S. wireless carriers, said the US government officials were to press Deutsche Telekom to stop the use of Huawei equipment, and the companies that believed they had to meet before a U.S. national security panel let them move forward on their deal.

Both Deutsche Telekom and Softbank were reported this week to search for the replace of the world ‘ s largest network equipment maker and seller. Now, T-Mobile and Sprint expect the AMERICAN panel, called the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (exhorting cfius), to approve their deal as early as next week, the sources said.

The sources warned, however, that the negotiations between the two companies and the U.S. government have not the final version, and a deal can still get through. She asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential.

Sprint, T-Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, SoftBank, and exhorting cfius declined to comment. Huawei did not respond to a request for comment.

The AMERICAN government and its allies have stepped up pressure on Huawei over concerns that the company is effectively controlled by the Chinese state and the network equipment could contain “back doors” that could enable cyber espionage, something that Huawei denies.

Several telecom operators in Europe and Australia have said that they will be excluded from the Chinese firm for their fifth-generation (5G) mobile networks.

The press Huawei has already increased tensions between the United States and China over trade. Earlier this month, Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer and daughter of billionaire founder, was arrested in China on a U.S. request for extradition.

U.S. prosecutors accuse her of misleading multinational banks about the Huawei the control of a company that active in Iran. China has asked for her release.

In an interview with Reuters earlier this week the US President, Donald Trump, drew a connection between the Huawei CFO extradition case and his administration trade row with China, said that he would be willing to intervene if it has helped in resolving the dispute or should the AMERICAN national security.

The United States is the intensification of the targeting this year, both Huawei and ZTE, China’s second-largest maker of telecommunications equipment. Last March, Trump blocked chip maker Broadcom Ltd. ‘ s attempted $120 billion takeover by US peer Qualcomm Inc on concerns the deal could boost Huawei’s competitive position.

ZTE was lame in April, when the United States prohibited U.s. companies from selling the parts, says the company broke an agreement to discipline officers who had conspired to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran and North Korea.

The ban, which became a source of friction in Sino-AMERICAN trade relations, was disbanded in July after ZTE paid $1.4 billion in penalties, allowing the company to resume business.

SoftBank plans to replace the 4G-network equipment from Huawei with the hardware of Nokia and Ericsson, Nikkei reported on Thursday, without quoting sources.

Deutsche Telekom, Europe’s largest telecom company, on Friday said that the rate of its supplier plans in Germany and other European markets where it is active, given the debate about the safety of the Chinese network gear.

The Ministry of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission must also approve T-Mobile and Sprint of the merger. T-Mobile previously said that it expects the deal to close in the first half of the year 2019.

Reporting by Diane Bartz in Washington, D. C. and Liana B. Baker and Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Paritosh Bansal and Daniel Wallis

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