Time to abandon the Huawei phone?
That was what some owners asked after U.S. tech giant Google said it would suspend its business with China’s top mobile maker, threatening future access to Gmail, YouTube and Chrome.
“I like the phone so much – I’m just kinda scared one day I’ll be forced to buy another phone,” said Anthony Chiringa, who lives in Nairobi and bought his Huawei Y7 for $180 (Ksh.18,198) two weeks ago.
“Buying a new phone to replace another one will be another expense for me. Rather Huawei should come up with a way whereby the current Huawei users can be able to replace their phones for free,” he said.
Other Huawei phone users took to the company’s social media customer care service to seek answers.
“Just got this phone!!! @HuaweiMobileKE What now after the recent developments???” Rehema Juma.
Rayhab Kabuba also said: “I just bought the Huawei P30 Lite. @HuaweiMobileKE what’s the 411 on this? Huawei has immediately lost access to Android and Google.”
Aurelia Adhiambo asked: “Now that your mobile phones have been suspended from using Google services. Then what next for current Huawei mobile users?”
The company replied to all the inquiries with the message: “Good morning, We would like to reassure you that Huawei will continue to provide security updates and after sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products covering those have been sold or still in stock globally. Thank you for believing in us.”
Google said on Monday it would comply with an order by U.S. President Donald Trump to stop supplying Huawei, meaning it would no longer be able to offer its popular Android apps to buyers of new Huawei phones.
The order to U.S. companies could affect tens of millions of consumers in Europe, its biggest market outside mainland China.
Trump’s move, said to be motivated by spying concerns amid a bitter trade war with China, could at a single blow derail Huawei’s ambitions to overtake Samsung as the world’s biggest phone maker.
Emerging economies such as Kenya are key to Huawei’s ambitions as it seeks to sell more low- to mid-priced handsets outside China.
Huawei said on Monday it would continue to provide security updates and services for its smartphones and tablets that have already been sold.
And Google’s team working on the Android operating system told Huawei users on its Twitter @Android account it would comply with U.S. requirements while ensuring “services like Google Play & security from Google Play Protect will keep functioning on your existing Huawei device.”
Replies to the tweet ranged from frustration to worry.
Operators, who tie phones into their networks with mobile line contracts for calls and data, were also racing to determine the impact on their businesses from Google’s decision.
“We are reviewing the details of the executive order to understand any potential implications for our customers,” Spain’s Telefonica, Europe’s third largest mobile operator.
COULD BE USED FOR ESPIONAGE
Hutchison’s British network operator Three told customers that Huawei’s routers and devices would continue working, but also said it was seeking further information.
“We are in discussions with Huawei and will provide a further update as soon as we can,” the firm said in statement.
Huawei, which is also the global leader in telecoms networking equipment, is embroiled in a long-running row with the United States over the security of its systems and devices.
The U.S. administration has said Huawei equipment could be used by China for espionage and Washington has pressed its allies to use other suppliers. Huawei denies the U.S charges.
Huawei’s founder and chief executive, Ren Zhengfei, had said before Google’s announcement on Saturday that growth of the Chinese tech giant “may slow, but only slightly” due to recent U.S. actions.
Additional reporting from Citizen Team
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