Huawei has been a key supplier of telecoms equipment to Australia for the past 15 years but will now be excluded from undertaking work on the country’s 5G networks
China has reacted angrily to the news that the Australian government has banned both ZTE and Huawei from participating in the rollout of 5G mobile networks in the country.
Huawei revealed the news on Twitter earlier on Thursday, saying that it was an "extremely disappointing result" for Australian consumers.
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) 22 August 2018
Lu Kang, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, told reporters from the Brisbane Times that the Australian government was undertaking "discriminatory measures" against both ZTE and Huawei.
“Instead of exploiting all kinds of excuses to create hurdles and taking discriminatory measures, we urge the Australian side to abandon ideological biases and create a sound environment,” Lu said.
Huawei has provided key components to Australia’s telecoms infrastructure for the past 15 years, with no suspicion of foul play arising. The Australian government has yet to provide any evidence that Huawei poses any kind of threat to the integrity of its national security infrastructure.
While the loss of the potentially lucrative Australian market will hurt Huawei and ZTE, the real victim of this decision could be the Australian telecommunications industry itself, and ultimately, Australian business.
With Huawei out of the picture, telcos will now be forced to turn to more expensive kit manufacturers to deliver crucial aspects of their network architecture. With the country already struggling with sporadic network coverage over its enormous land mass, the move to ban Huawei will inevitably drive up prices and could severely hamper the rollout of 5G in the country, according to a recent report in the Financial Times.
“A government decision to ban Huawei would almost certainly cause chaos, raise prices for consumers and leave Telstra’s main rivals — Vodafone, Optus and TPG Telecom — as much as 18 months behind it in terms of the rollout of 5G,” Mark Gregory, associate professor of network engineering at RMIT University in Melbourne, recently told the Financial Times.
Telcos who have used Huawei equipment in their 4G networks will now be facing enormous bills to refit their 5G network architecture, as the move essentially forces them to build new networks from scratch.
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