Huawei, ZTE Banned From Providing 5G Gear In Australia

Chinese telecoms equipment giant Huawei said it and fellow communications firm ZTE have both been banned from providing technology for Australia’s next-generation wireless networks.

The Australian government’s move comes amidst a tightening of its national security laws with regard to communications networks and increased restrictions on Huawei.

Huawei said the decision was “extremely disappointing”, while the Chinese government suggested that the spying concerns that supposedly informed the Australian government’s measure were a cover for trade protectionism.

“We have been informed by the government that Huawei and ZTE have been banned from providing 5G technology to Australia,” Huawei said 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.”

China’s foreign ministry spokesman, Luk Kang, accused Australia of using “various excuses to artificially erect barriers”.

The ministry called on Australia to “abandon ideological prejudices and provide a fair competitive environment for Chinese companies”.

Ironically, China was long accused of thwarting free trade in the name of ideology.

In June the Australian government convinced the Solomon Islands to drop a contract with Huawei to build a subsea cable linking it with Australia, and took up the deal itself.

In a Thursday statement by Australia’s communications and acting home affairs ministers, the country’s government said next-generation networks would increase security risks because “sensitive functions” would “move outside of the highly protected core environment”.

“The 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 unauthorised access or interference,” the ministers stated, without naming specific companies.

Security concerns

Huawei and ZTE face increasing restrictions elsewhere, including the US and the UK, amidst growing international tensions.

The US has placed restrictions on both companies since 2012, when a report by lawmakers raised national security concerns about them.

Huawei, the world’s largest telecoms equipment vendor and the second-largest smartphone maker, ahead of Apple and after Samsung, has yet to win a carrier distribution deal in the US, in spite of rumours it would finally do so early this year.

In the UK, a committee set up to review Huawei’s British activities warned in July that it could provide “only limited assurance” that the company’s telecoms gear posed no threat to national security.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has said the increased use of ZTE equipment and services would pose a security risk, due to the already extensive use of Huawei gear and the difficulty of monitoring equipment from both firms.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

Recent Posts

US Agencies In Favour Of Axing China Telecom US Licence

Ability of Chinese teleco to provide communication and data services between US and China could be jeopardy amid review of…

6 hours ago

Coronavirus: Google Location Data Shows Rise In Visits To Parks

Google releases second tranche of location data that reveals there was a rise in people visiting parks during the warm…

8 hours ago

Facebook Tracking Lawsuit Renewed By US Appeals Court

Federal Appeals Court has approved proposed class action by Facebook users over alleged tracking of their internet activity, even after…

10 hours ago

Coronavirus: Samsung, Facebook, Donate Devices To NHS

Samsung donates 2,000 robust smartphones and other equipment for NHS Nightingale hospitals, as Facebook donates 2,050 Portal devices

1 day ago

Coronavirus: Amazon’s Jeff Bezos Quizzed Over Sacked Worker

Letter to CEO over fired worker, who raised concerns about worker protection and cleanliness of local Amazon facility during pandemic

1 day ago

Coronavirus: US Senators Advised To Avoid Using Zoom – Report

US Senate reportedly becomes the latest organisation to advise members not to use Zoom, over privacy and security concerns

1 day ago