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GCSB blocks Spark's plans to use Huawei 5G equipment
30 November 2018, 01:50 | Jodi Jackson
GCSB shuts down Spark's proposed 5G partnership with Huawei over 'significant network security risk'
New Zealand's electronic intelligence agency has told the country's largest internet company it can't use gear from Chinese giant Huawei in an upcoming network upgrade because of "a significant network security risk".
"I have informed Spark that a significant network security risk was identified", New Zealand's Government Communications Security Bureau Director-General Andrew Hampton said on November 28.
Spark says it has been notified by the Director-General of the GCSB that it can not use Huawei gear for its pending 5G mobile network upgrade.
"As per Spark New Zealand's statement today, I can confirm the GCSB under its TICSA responsibilities, has recently undertaken an assessment of a notification from Spark".
The decision by New Zealand's Director-General of the Government Communications Security Bureau comes months after Australia banned the Chinese firm for the same reason.
Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported the USA government was trying to persuade companies in allied countries to avoid Huawei.
Huawei and ZTE were banned by the Australian government from playing a role in any 5G rollouts in August due to national security issues stemming from concerns of foreign government interference in critical communications infrastructure.
"The economic and trade co-operation between China and New Zealand is mutually beneficial in nature", Geng said.
Bridges said that banning Huawei could have implications for quality and pricing in New Zealand's mobile sphere.
Huawei said in a statement that it will "actively address any concerns and work together to find a way forward", adding it has signed more than 20 5G contracts with carriers worldwide. "I have informed Spark that a significant network security risk was identified", he said.
Little said each decision regarding telecom technology was made separately under telecom and security legislation.
A woman stands at the booth of Huawei featuring 5G technology at the PT Expo in Beijing, China September 28, 2018. It has invested heavily in 5G technology, becoming one of the few companies, like Sweden's Ericsson (ERIC) and Finland-based Nokia (NOK), capable of making competitive equipment for global 5G networks.
2Degrees chief of corporate affairs Mathew Bolland said that it was seeking clarity from the GCSB on how the decision would affect its own planned 5G network.
NZ bans Chinese tech firm Huawei from network upgrade
A spokesperson for Huawei in New Zealand said: "Huawei is aware of Spark's statement, and we are looking into the situation ". It comes after the USA has warned that Huawei is a security threat due to the possibility of Chinese government interference.
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