Huawei 5G stations: dependence on American components still strong – archyworldys

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In their bowels, Huawei's base stations, essential for Chinese 5G, contain up to 30% of American components. A presence that could soon prove to be problematic for the telecoms giant.

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The semiconductor supplied by TSMC for HiSilicon (Huawei). © Nikkei

Huawei is struggling to maintain its cruising speed without US products. According to Japanese media Nikkei, the latest generation of Chinese base stations still rely heavily on components from the country of Donald Trump. A deplorable record when we know that this is a strategic 5G network equipment for the telecoms giant. To make matters worse, one of the key components of the base stations is manufactured by TSMC, the Taiwanese founder which is now banned from doing business with Huawei.

The programmable door network in situ is supplied by Lattice Semiconductor, based in Oregon, United States, and Xilinx (California, United States). Semiconductors dedicated to power come from Texas Instruments (Texas, United States) and ON Semiconductor (Arizona, United States). Dedicated memory components are partly supplied by Cypress Semiconductor Corporation (California, United States), switches are from Broadcom (California, United States) while amplifiers are produced by Analog Devices (Massachusetts, United States) .

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The origin and price of the main components of a 5th generation base station from Huawei. © Fomalhaut

A shortfall for American companies

The main semiconductor is well signed HiSilicon, the chip branch of Huawei. However, it is the Taiwanese TSMC who takes care of the manufacturer, as evidenced by the inscription "Hi1382 TAIWAN" on the component. Bad luck, TSMC still does not have permission to trade with Chinese. Fortunately, Huawei had anticipated and would have stocks of US microchips for two years.

It is with the Japanese specialist firm Fomalhau that Nikkei proceeded to this dismantling of a 5th generation base station from Huawei. In the end, our colleagues estimate that the total cost of this imposing equipment (48 x 34 x 9 cm, 10 kg) amounts to € 1,128. Of this price, 48.2% goes to Chinese companies while 27.2% goes to the United States. A shortfall that should be felt quickly across the Atlantic.

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