Huawei: Australian 5G decision 'extremely disappointing'

Huawei Australia has told ZDNet that the decision by the Australian government to prevent it from taking part in 5G network rollouts down under is 'extremely disappointing' for consumers.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Huawei has told ZDNet that it is disappointed with the Australian government's decision not to allow it to take part in the nation's 5G rollouts due to national security issues stemming from concerns of foreign government interference in critical communications infrastructure.

"We have been informed by the government that Huawei and ZTE have been banned from providing 5G technology to Australia," Huawei told ZDNet in a statement.

"This is an extremely disappointing result for consumers.

"Huawei is a world leader in 5G, and has safely and securely delivered wireless technology in Australia for close to 15 years."

Huawei Australia board member John Brumby had last week told ZDNet that Huawei was expecting a decision on 5G in the "not too distant future", adding that the company was "happy with the government process" to that point.

"We are obviously working closely with government agencies and government departments, and I think it's true to say that some of the carriers and some of our partners would also be expressing their views to government about the benefits that 5G can bring to Australia -- the productivity benefits and the economic benefits -- and the significant advantage and benefits that Huawei's participation would bring," Brumby said.

"At the end of the day, that'll be a decision for government, and there are always competing interests within government, and they'll come to a decision at a Cabinet level about this matter, but we've been comfortable with the access and opportunities that we've been given.

"We've worked closely with agencies and departments, the prime minister has made it clear that there's to be a proper open and transparent process and we're participating in that."

Huawei Australia CEO George Huang last week also reiterated his position that the Chinese tech giant will comply with the laws of whatever country it is operating in, as well as with Chinese laws, denying that any conflict between the two would be likely to arise.

"Definitely we will abide by the laws and regulations in Australia -- in China, we also abide by the Chinese law, but without any conflict to the legal obligations in other countries," Huang said.

"We never see any conflict. I don't think any laws in any country are in conflict with the laws in any other countries."

Read more: Paranoia will destroy us: Why Chinese tech isn't spying on us

Last month speaking on how the use of Huawei technology in telecommunications infrastructure has been facing national security concerns in the US and in Australia, meanwhile, Huawei Australia cyber security officer Malcolm Shore said decisions should not be made in the absence of technical knowledge, because they will have "substantial long-term effects".

"There has been a lot of talk about security, there's been a lot of discussion on whether Chinese vendors in general should be allowed in the infrastructure, and Huawei in particular," Shore said.

"We seem to have suddenly jumped on an issue of 5G networks, where now suddenly it's become a defining issue for the future of Australia. And yet ... we haven't really had a step change in cybersecurity.

"Certainly from a Huawei perspective, deploying 5G RAN into a 4G network is not going to cause a step change in security -- in fact, it's going to be better security, because 5G [has] better security."

Chief executive Huang last month told ZDNet that the company handles no personal data.

"Huawei doesn't own, doesn't manage, doesn't operate any data," Huang told ZDNet on the sidelines of Huawei's Customer Solution Innovation Centre (CSIC) launch in Sydney in July.

"Huawei is just a network equipment vendor to the operators. Operators, they manage, they operate the network. The application of Huawei is to support our customers -- that means operators -- to build the system to manage those things.

"Huawei is just a vendor of the pipeline."

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