Chinese smartphone makers Huawei and ZTE have been banned by the Australian government from taking part in the 5G mobile network infrastructure rollout in the country. Huawei Australia shared information on Twitter noting that the Federal Government has banned them and ZTE from providing 5G technology to Australia.
The tweet by Huawei Australia reads, “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.”
5G, which is the next stage of mobile internet connectivity is expected to deliver faster data speeds and coverage over current 4G technology.
But why this ban?
According to Australian government’s emailed statement on Thursday, national security regulations that were typically applied to telecom firms would now be extended to the equipment suppliers, although it did not explicitly name Huawei or ZTE.
Citing risks of foreign interference, spying and hacking, the statement further mentions that the companies “who are likely to be subject to extrajudicial directions from a foreign government” could present a security risk to nation’s network. The Telecommunications Sector Security Reforms (TSSR) come into effect on September 18.
What does it mean for Huawei and ZTE?
Huawei and ZTE won’t be able to supply any equipment for Australia’s planned 5G mobile network. By 2020, several countries are looking to roll out the 5G mobile networks, and it also includes India. Yesterday, a department of telecom (DoT) panel gave key recommendations and action plan on 5G spectrum policy.
Huawei, in particular, will suffer more as it is the world’s biggest producer of telecom equipment. The company said whether or not being involved in the 5G rollout in Australia, the technology will still be made in China, and this band would only “decimate” competition in the industry.
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
The company previously denied of any national security risk, and said that it is 100 percent owned by its employees, not the Chinese Government.
How China is taking the ban?
According to VentureBeat, Chinese government has hinted at ‘repercussions’ of the ban through official and unofficial channels. Official statements by Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesperson has conveyed that this ban abiding the use of national security as a pretext would “exert negative influence” on both Chinese and Australian companies.
The Chinese government-controlled news organizations have also threatened consequences. Global Times article headline says “Canberra stabs Huawei in the back”. It accused Australia of bending to U.S. economic protectionism.