Australia has blocked Huawei and ZTE from providing equipment for its 5G network, which is set to launch commercially in 2019.
In a tweet, Huawei stated that the Australian government told the company that both it and ZTE are banned from supplying 5G technology to the country, despite Huawei’s assurances that it does not pose a threat to national security.
We have been informed by the Govt that Huawei & ZTE have been banned from providing 5G technology to Australia. 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
— Huawei Australia (@HuaweiOZ) August 22, 2018
Huawei was blocked from bidding for contracts on Australia’s ambitious national broadband project in 2012, reportedly due to concerns about cyber-security.
The company has long disputed claims of any links to the Chinese government.
The federal government said in a statement that the “involvement of vendors who are likely to be subject to extrajudicial directions from a foreign government that conflict with Australian law” posed a security risk.
Acting Home Affairs Minister Scott Morrison and Communications Minister Mitch Fifield added that there was “no combination of technical security controls that sufficiently mitigate the risks”.
The move came amid tensions between Beijing and Canberra that has seen Australia refocus its foreign aid programmes to win hearts and minds in Pacific nations.
Beijing has been flexing its muscles in the Pacific and extending loans to the impoverished nations, with Australia raising fears some might get trapped with unsustainable debts, handing China influence.
In its new security guidelines, the Australian government stated that differences in the way 5G operates compared to previous network generations introduces new risks to national security. In particular, it noted the diminishing distinctions between the core network, where more sensitive functions like access control and data routing occur, and the edge, or radios that connect customer equipment, like laptops and mobile phones, to the core.