Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Australia bans China's Huawei from mobile network build over security fears

Australia has banned Australia has banned
Lori Graves | 24 August, 2018, 01:39

Australia had previously banned Huawei, the world's largest maker of telecommunications network gear, from providing equipment for its fiber-optic network and moved to block it from laying submarine cables in the Pacific.

A statement issued jointly by Acting Home Affairs Minister Scott Morrison and Communications Minister Mitch Fifield on Thursday said having any companies involved in the rollout who were subject to foreign laws that were in conflict with Australian law was too big a risk.

Australia banned Chinese telecom firms Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp. from its next-generation 5G mobile network, aligning it with USA policy on the matter and underscoring concerns about the possibility of cyberspying by Beijing.

Huawei's official Australian Twitter account recently announced that the government has banned it and ZTE from providing 5G technology to Australia.

The pair expressed concerns that Huawei, which is also facing scrutiny in the U.S. over alleged links to Beijing, would pose threat to Australia's national security as it would be subject to the Chinese government influence.

These efforts included passing the Telecommunications Sector Security Reforms (TSSR) previous year, a law that introduces new legal measures that allow the Aussie government the ability to intervene and issue directions in cases where there are significant national security concerns.

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While the statement did not name individual vendors, ZTE (which has a much smaller presence in Australia) will also face the ban.

Apart from the US, Huawei has also encountered security scrutiny in other developed economies including the United Kingdom and Australia. Most notably, earlier in 2018, a deal between Huawei, AT&T, and Verizon fell through at the last minute, effectively locking Huawei out of the USA market.

USA officials and others have long suspected that ZTE, the second-largest smartphone maker in the world, maintains ties to China's communist leaders.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Australia should drop its "discriminatory measures" and instead encourage cooperation between Australian and Chinese enterprises because it benefited Australian consumers. According to Financial Times, Huawei is responsible for 55 percent of the 4G market in the country, and it had been keen to supply equipment for the upcoming 5G space there.

5G is the next generation of mobile internet connectivity and promises faster data download and upload speeds.

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