DOD Tells Military Stores To Stop Selling Chinese Phones

DOD Tells Military Stores To Stop Selling Chinese Phones

Huawei and ZTE devices cannot be sold on US military bases worldwide for fear that they could be threats to national security (insert Samsung Galaxy Note 7 joke here).

"Huawei and ZTE devices may pose an unacceptable risk to Department's personnel, information and mission", Major Dave Eastburn, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement.

This ban stops retail stores on military bases from selling Huawei and ZTE phones, but it doesn't prohibit soldiers from buying the company's handsets elsewhere and bringing them onto a military base.

Representative of Huawei and ZTE could not be reached immediately for comment, though both have denied allegations that their products are used to spy.

The reason for the ban is due possible security threats that the phones pose, says the Pentagon.

Military exchanges - on- or near-base facilities that sell items to service members and their families - will no longer sell Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp. items, such as cellphones and modems, under a directive issued by the Defense Department on April. 27, the department announced Wednesday. United States tariffs on steel and aluminum imports are also at issue. Huawei is the third largest smartphone manufacturer globally after Samsung and Apple, but has a rather puny USA presence.

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Only 2,400 Huawei and ZTE phones were sold on military bases previous year, according to the Defense Department.

USA lawmakers and the Trump administration have pressured US companies to not sell Huawei or ZTE products, saying they potentially could be used to spy on Americans.

And in February, top officials from the CIA, NSA, FBI and the Defense Intelligence Agency told Congress that American citizens shouldn't use Huawei or ZTE phones.

ZTE called the move "extremely unfair".

The Pentagon is also evaluating whether a military-wide advisory regarding the purchase or use of the devices is necessary.

The products were removed from exchange service stores and exchange concessionaires worldwide following warnings from top USA intelligence officials and lawmakers that Chinese mobile phones could track movements of the military.

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