Sprint Nextel and its new owner will limit their use of technology made by Chinese companies, and allow US national security officials to monitor changes to their equipment. The pending agreement will help them gain US approval of SoftBank's $20 billion acquisition of Sprint.
US officials have accused Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE of having close ties with the Chinese government and military. They claim the companies' equipment raises the threat of "cyber-espionage" or attacks on US communications networks, although a White House review last year found no clear evidence that Huawei spied for China.
The New York Times last night quoted anonymous government officials as saying that Sprint Nextel and the Japanese SoftBank "are expected to enter an agreement with American law enforcement officials that will restrict the combined company’s ability to pick suppliers for its telecommunications equipment and systems." Further, "The agreement would allow national security officials to monitor changes to the company’s system of routers, servers and switches, among other equipment and processes, the officials said. It would also let them keep a close watch on the extent to which Sprint and SoftBank use equipment from Chinese manufacturers, particularly Huawei Technologies."