ibusinesslines.com December 09, 2018

NZ bans Chinese tech firm Huawei from network upgrade

29 November 2018, 10:40 | Jodi Jackson

‘National security risks’: New Zealand blocks use of Huawei equipment over trust issues

New Zealand's largest carrier Spark said that the Government Communications Security Bureau had rejected a plan to use Huawei technology in its next-generation 5G network citing

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang expressed "serious concern" over the decision and said China-New Zealand business ties were mutually beneficial.

"We hope New Zealand will provide a level-playing field for Chinese enterprises' operations there and do something conducive to mutual trust and cooperation".

If Spark did attempt to address the GCSB's concerns, the GCSB would then have to decide whether to refer the matter to the Minister responsible for GCSB, Andrew Little.

The private Chinese company was started by a former People's Liberation Army major in 1987.

Spark rival 2degrees said it had noted the decision and was "seeking clarity on it".

Yesterday afternoon, Spark pre-empted the government and GCSB by announcing the security agency's finding, and saying it could not now use Huawei gear for its pending 5G upgrade to its mobile network. "Following our review, Spark will consider what further steps, if any, it will take".

Reports that Australia was to ban Huawei 5G had emerged just two days before the Maltese government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the telecommunications giant to cooperate on 5G with the possibility of a trial of the technology being introduced to Maltese businesses and citizens in October.

Huawei's Bowater said he denied there was any evidence of wrongdoing by Huawei. Along with the US, Australia, and some other countries, now New Zealand has also joined the club.

"It's not about the country, it's not even particularly about the company, it's about the technology that is proposed", Mr Andrew Little, minister for the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) intelligence agency, told national radio.

As part of an "extraordinary outreach campaign", United States officials have reportedly reached out to European and Asian countries where Huawei equipment is already in use, warning them about the "national security risks" posed by the Chinese firm.

It comes after the USA has warned that Huawei is a security threat due to the possibility of Chinese government interference.

A spokesperson for Huawei in New Zealand said: "Huawei is aware of Spark's statement, and we are looking into the situation".

However, Huawei, which is headquartered in Shenzhen, in southern China, has faced national security concerns in multiple countries. "Huawei is trusted by governments and customers in 170 countries worldwide and poses no greater cyber security risk than any ICT vendor, sharing as we do common global supply chains and production capabilities".

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