Australia bans Huawei, ZTE from 5G network

Huawei: Australia has banned us from selling 5G tech

Huawei and ZTE banned from supplying equipment to 5G networks in Australia

A Huawei shop is pictured in Singapore August 8, 2018.

Huawei called the move an "extremely disappointing result for consumers".

A hot potato: Huawei and ZTE have always been under fire from security experts and government officials in the U.S. due to their alleged ties with the Chinese government.

US officials and others have long suspected that ZTE, the second-largest smartphone maker in the world, maintains ties to China's communist leaders.

Vodafone Australia, which tried out 5G equipment with Huawei, criticised the latest decision to ban Huawei from local 5G networks, with its chief strategy officer Dan Lloyd saying Vodafone has always said that national security is paramount, and the company always has and always will meet the obligations under Australian law. Pressure to push the companies out of the USA has only mounted in recent months and now, other countries are following suit.

The Australian government appears to have taken advantage of this new law by imposing a ban on Australian telcos, forbidding them from purchasing and using any Huawei and ZTE equipment for building its national 5G network.

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The nature of 5G technology means security protocols governing earlier networks won't sufficiently protect against national security threats, according to a statement from Treasurer Scott Morrison and Communications Minister Mitch Fifield. ZTE declined to comment.

While the statement did not name individual vendors, ZTE (which has a much smaller presence in Australia) will also face the ban.

"We urge the Australian government to abandon ideological prejudices and provide a fair competitive environment for Chinese companies' operations in Australia", Lu said at a daily news briefing.

In Beijing, foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China was "gravely concerned", accusing Canberra of making "all types of excuses to create hurdles and taking discriminatory measures".

Huawei - one of the world's largest telecommunications equipment and services providers - has been under scrutiny in some countries including the United States and Australia over its alleged close links to Beijing.

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