Huawei CFO arrested in Canada ‘at US request’, while Ericsson is blamed for O2 UK and Japan network fails

Huawei's CFO, Meng Wanzhou

WEEK IN TELCO IT – Mainstream media outlets have been dominated in the last 24 hours by two telecoms-related news stories. As Jeremy Cowan reports, the China-based network systems giant, Huawei is demanding the release from detention in Canada of its CFO. Meanwhile, network operator O2,owned by Telefonica, is pointing the finger of blame at Ericsson for a network outage affecting many of its 25 million customers.

SoftBank’s mobile phone service was also disrupted in parts of Japan. The timing was unfortunate for the network operator, coming as it did ahead of an initial public offering (IPO) later this month for SoftBank’s domestic telecoms business. A market valuation of US$21 billion for the business had been mooted, however shares fell initially by more than 5%, reportedly influenced by the arrest of Huawei’s CFO.

The news broke on Thursday morning, and was confirmed by Huawei, that Canadian immigration authorities and police had arrested Meng Wanzhou, 46, the chief financial officer (CFO) of Huawei, the world’s largest telecoms equipment and software vendor.

Shenzhen-based Huawei called for the immediate release of the telco giant’s CFO, who had been arrested (reportedly at the request of US authorities) for investigation of alleged violation of U.S. sanctions on exports to Iran. Her position as CFO would likely have guaranteed a robust response from the Beijing government anyway, but the fact that Meng Wanzhou is also the daughter of Huawei’s founder, 74 year-old Ren Zhengfei only compounded the diplomatic and commercial upheaval.

Ren Zhengfei, founder of Huawei.

Although academic observers of Sino-US relations were reported to be deeply shocked at the news, a more emollient tone was set by China’s commerce ministry. It issued a statement on Thursday saying Beijing is “confident in reaching an agreement (with the U.S.) within the next 90 days. Negotiations have been continuing between the two economic superpowers since President Donald Trump met Chinese Premier Xi Jinping in Argentina in an attempt to roll back the effects of the trade war that has deepened in recent months. China’s trade spokesman, Gao Feng told a media briefing, “We will start with agricultural products, energy, automobiles to immediately implement the issues that the two sides have reached consensus.”

Shares initially tumbled in US markets,not only in Huawei but across the wider tech market, before returning to a position close to their previous levels. The NASDAQ resuming a positive position, erasing earlier losses.

Ms. Meng was reported by Canadian officials to have been arrested on December 1st but news only broke today, Thursday. A hearing in Canada in Ms. Meng’s case is set for Friday.

Tensions have been running high for several years between the US and Chinese governments over allegations that Huawei and compatriot telecom solution vendor ZTE pose a national and commercial security risk to western countries. (Also see: ZTE Corporation reaches a US$892m settlement with US authorities.)

O2 and Ericsson apologise

“Faulty software” has been blamed by Ericsson UK for the network outage that continued throughout Thursday. In a joint statement, O2 and its mobile network equipment supplier Ericsson apologised to the millions of customers hit by a total failure of its data services. The companies sought to reassure users that its 3G service would be fully restored by Thursday evening. It would, however, continue work on restoring 4G operations.

O2 has 25 million customers in the UK and also provides services for the Giffgaff, Lycamobile, Sky, and Tesco networks, which between them have another seven million users.

Jeremy Cowan

Commenting on the O2 UK network failure, Mike Walton, CEO of Opsview says: “Today’s headlines reported that millions of smartphone users in the UK had lost their data services after the O2 network suffered technical problems. This large-scale data outage is just one of many to hit the news recently, with a number of tech giants such as Microsoft and Facebook also falling victim this month to the dreaded IT outage. Whilst the latest reports put today’s disruptions down to a global software outage, it is important that IT departments across all industries have full visibility across the entire IT estate.

“By implementing a robust monitoring system mobile networks such as O2 will be able to identify potential outages not only across the infrastructure, but also across all applications,” Walton adds. “By doing so, companies can ensure that their time to detect problems is vastly reduced and any potential issues can be rectified before they cause disruption to consumers, and reputational harm to their brand.”

(Also see: TalkTalk wants to stop talktalking, but software vendors are bursting to tell more … soon)

Such advice may have come too late for O2 and their network software supplier, Ericsson. If previous experiences involving TalkTalk and Facebook are anything to go by, the reputational damage is likely to be lasting and deep.

Report by Jeremy Cowan, editorial director of IoT Now.

Comment on this article below or via Twitter: @IoTNow_OR @jcIoTnow


Aeris to acquire IoT business from Ericsson

Posted on: December 8, 2022

Ericsson and Aeris Communications, a provider of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions based in San Jose, California, have signed an agreement for the transfer of Ericsson’s IoT Accelerator and Connected Vehicle Cloud businesses.

Read more

Telenor IoT passes milestone of 20mn SIM cards

Posted on: December 8, 2022

Telenor, the global IoT provider and telecom operator, has experienced rapid growth over the last years and ranks among the top 3 IoT operators in Europe and among the top IoT operators in the world. The positive development is due to an accelerated pace of new customers combined with a successful growth of existing customers’

Read more

The IoT Adoption Boom – Everything You Need to Know

Posted on: September 28, 2022

In an age when we seem to go through technology boom after technology boom, it’s hard to imagine one sticking out. However, IoT adoption, or the Internet of Things adoption, is leading the charge to dominate the next decade’s discussion around business IT. Below, we’ll discuss the current boom, what’s driving it, where it’s going,

Read more

9 IoT applications that will change everything

Posted on: September 1, 2021

Whether you are a future-minded CEO, tech-driven CEO or IT leader, you’ve come across the term IoT before. It’s often used alongside superlatives regarding how it will revolutionize the way you work, play, and live. But is it just another buzzword, or is it the as-promised technological holy grail? The truth is that Internet of

Read more

Which IoT Platform 2021? IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide

Posted on: August 30, 2021

There are several different parts in a complete IoT solution, all of which must work together to get the result needed, write IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide – Which IoT Platform 2021? authors Robin Duke-Woolley, the CEO and Bill Ingle, a senior analyst, at Beecham Research. Figure 1 shows these parts and, although not all

Read more

CAT-M1 vs NB-IoT – examining the real differences

Posted on: June 21, 2021

As industry players look to provide the next generation of IoT connectivity, two different standards have emerged under release 13 of 3GPP – CAT-M1 and NB-IoT.

Read more

IoT and home automation: What does the future hold?

Posted on: June 10, 2020

Once a dream, home automation using iot is slowly but steadily becoming a part of daily lives around the world. In fact, it is believed that the global market for smart home automation will reach $40 billion by 2020.

Read more

5 challenges still facing the Internet of Things

Posted on: June 3, 2020

The Internet of Things (IoT) has quickly become a huge part of how people live, communicate and do business. All around the world, web-enabled devices are turning our world into a more switched-on place to live.

Read more

What is IoT?

Posted on: July 7, 2019

What is IoT Data as a new oil IoT connectivity What is IoT video So what’s IoT? The phrase ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) is officially everywhere. It constantly shows up in my Google news feed, the weekend tech supplements are waxing lyrical about it and the volume of marketing emails I receive advertising ‘smart, connected

Read more