While countries including the U.S. and U.K. grow increasingly willing to challenge China on everything from Hong Kong to Huawei, Germany has steered clear of confrontation with Beijing.
Why it matters: Despite German Chancellor Angela Merkel's reputation as a champion of democratic values, her critics contend that when it comes to China, any such concerns are trumped by the economy.
The U.S. will impose visa restrictions on certain employees of Chinese telecom Huawei and other companies that "provide material support to regimes engaging in human rights violations globally," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday.
Why it matters: The Trump administration's latest escalation against Huawei, which U.S. intelligence officials view as a threat to national security due to its ties to the Chinese military, comes the day after the U.K. announced it will no longer allow the telecom to access its 5G network.
The U.K. said Tuesday that it will no longer allow Chinese tech company Huawei to access its 5G network amid growing pressure on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to take a stand against Beijing, the New York Times reports.
The U.K. may further restrict technology from Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications giant, on its 5G networks, due to security concerns, the Washington Post reports.
The big picture: The move is seen as a diplomatic victory for the U.S., which has sought to prevent Huawei technologies from being employed in communication networks across the world. China, meanwhile, accuses the U.S. of using security rationales to squeeze Huawei from international markets because it is hostile to economic competition.
AT&T has used the label "5G Evolution" and a 5GE logo on phones for months to describe a version of its LTE network, but the U.S. ad industry's review board found the designations misleading on Wednesday and recommended AT&T stop using the terms in advertising.
Why it matters: The designation was long bemoaned by journalists, analysts, competitors and even quietly by some at the company. AT&T said it has already stopped using the term in its advertising.
New data from companies and analysts is indicating that smartphone sales are starting to take a hit as we predicted might be the case earlier this week.
Why it matters: Smartphones have been the growth engine of consumer electronics for more than a decade. Sales were already slowing before the coronavirus, but the industry now appears headed for a significant dip.
Robert Blair, a senior White House official who played a key role under former chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, is moving to the Commerce Department to serve as director of policy, two sources familiar with his plans tell Axios and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross confirmed.
What we're hearing: Blair is expected to focus on 5G, rebalancing the relationship with China and reopening the economy after the coronavirus lockdowns, one of the sources said.
The anti-Huawei movement continues even as attention shifts to the coronavirus, with a group of tech firms urging the U.K. to find alternatives to using Huawei gear in 5G networks.
The big picture: The approach they propose has also been pursued by some in the White House, though many have cast doubt on its viability, especially in the short term.
Coronavirus-related economic disruption and uncertainty could yet slow the pace of 5G deployment in the U.S. — but for now, the major carriers say they're moving full speed ahead.
Why it matters: The pandemic has highlighted the importance of connectivity as businesses shift to remote work and schools move classes online, making network performance more vital than ever.
Commerce Department official Earl Comstock, who rankled others in the Trump administration on telecom policy issues including 5G, is resigning effective Friday, Reuters reports.
The big picture: Comstock was a controversial figure at the center of battles over how to free up airwaves for 5G as well as the administration's overall direction on the next-generation wireless networks. The friction has repeatedly spilled out in public and led to the resignation of Commerce's top telecom official last year.