U.S. ban on Huawei has Colombian users worried
Michelle Begue
["other","South America"]
Experts estimate Huawei has almost 20 percent of Colombia's cellphone market. 
"What is going to happen to my Huawei? I just bought it. Did I lose my money?" That is the question of Lucy Orjuela, one of Colombia's estimated 6.8 million active Huawei cellphone users.
"I don't have a Huawei cellphone, but I think the Chinese are smart. They will get out of this," added iPhone user Andres Rojas, when asked what he thought of the U.S. ban on Huawei.
Colombia is reportedly Huawei's third most important market in Latin America. According to the UK-based market research company Euromonitor, of the 12.3 million cellphones sold in Colombia in 2018, 21.8 percent were Huawei.
Mauricio Vela sells Huawei at his store in Bogota's Center of High Technology known as CAT shopping center, "The Huawei user is a person looking for a good camera, a good memory, for a more executive and modern person but whose budget isn't that big because the apple phones are very beautiful but very expensive."
Google applications are seen on a Huawei smartphone, May 20, 2019. /VCG Photo

Google applications are seen on a Huawei smartphone, May 20, 2019. /VCG Photo

Huawei in Colombia reassured users with a statement released on its social media Twitter account, "Huawei will continue to supply security and post-sale service updates to all existing products. Including those units that have been sold and that are up for sale."
Samir Stefan, Co-founder of the Colombian tech blog Techcetera, believes the ban will be temporary. But if it isn't, he says the biggest issue will be providing users an alternative to already established means of communicating through Google-based apps.
"It will not be able to provide them with Gmail, with Google maps. Microsoft will not be able to provide them with Office, with Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, etc., etc. So, in the end, if people can't use those applications you will have a very fragmented market in which someone would have to rise and replace WhatsApp, which is right now the main means of communication in Latin America," said Stefan.
Gisella Granados has been looking to update her two-year-old Huawei cellphone. But with the ban, she doesn't know if she will replace it with a newer version of Huawei.  
"I'm going to have to think about it and see how this news develops," she added.
Colombia's overall cellphone market continues t­­o grow according to experts. Studies conducted by market research firm GFK see a 14.4 percent rise in cellphones sold in the first four months of 2019 compared to the same period last year.