Canberra bans Huawei, ZTE from 5G

GIVEN THE BOOT::Huawei said the measures would be ‘extremely disappointing’ for consumers, while a Chinese ministry spokesman said that they were ‘discriminatory’


Fri, Aug 24, 2018 - Page 10

Australia has banned China’s Huawei Technologies Co (華為) and ZTE Corp (中興) from supplying next-generation wireless equipment to the nation’s telecom operators, the latest blow in an escalating global battle over network security.

The Australian government yesterday gave carriers new security guidance for 5G mobile technology and warned that using foreign government-linked suppliers would risk breaching their obligations.

The nature of 5G technology means security protocols governing earlier networks would not sufficiently protect against national security threats, Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison and Federal Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said in a statement.

The statement did not identify ZTE or Huawei, which Australian security agencies have recommended be barred from supplying telecoms with 5G technology.

Huawei’s Australia operation later put out a statement making clear it would not be able to compete as carriers prepare to spend billions on the new technology.

“We have been informed by the Govt that Huawei & ZTE have been banned from providing 5G technology to Australia,” the company said on Twitter. “This is a extremely disappointing result for consumers. Huawei is a world leader in 5G. Has safely & securely delivered wireless technology in Aust for close to 15 yrs.”

The Chinese equipment makers have also come under fire in the US, where regulators have proposed banning telecoms from using federal subsidies to buy from companies such as Huawei and ZTE that pose a national security risk.

Huawei and ZTE have said they do not represent any such risk.

Huawei has said it has rolled out technology in the UK, Canada, Germany and Spain without compromising national security.

The Chinese government took issue with Australia’s move.

“We are gravely concerned by the statement issued by the Australian government,” Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Lu Kang (陸慷) said at a regular briefing.

“Instead of exploiting all kinds of excuses to create hurdles and taking discriminatory measures, we urge the Australian side to abandon political biases and create a sound environment for fair competition for Chinese enterprises in Australia,” Lu said.

Huawei, China’s largest maker of telecommunications equipment, already supplies Australian wireless carriers, including Vodafone Group PLC. It has been in talks with Canberra in an attempt to accommodate the domestic security requirements to win a share of Australia’s 5G equipment market.

However, that effort appears to have fallen short.

“Involvement of vendors who are likely to be subject to extrajudicial directions from a foreign government that conflict with Australian law, may risk failure by the carrier to adequately protect a 5G network from unauthorized access or interference,” Morrison and Fifield said.