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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 September 2018

Huawei says Australia 5G ban is “politically motivated”

Australia on Thursday banned Huawei Technologies and ZTE from entering its 5G market

Australia has effectively banned China's Huawei Technologies from entering its 5G market. Satish Kumar / The National 
Australia has effectively banned China's Huawei Technologies from entering its 5G market. Satish Kumar / The National 

Australia’s decision to block Huawei Technologies from entering the nation’s 5G market is politically motivated and undermines the principles of fair competition, the Chinese company said on Friday.

The decision is “politically motivated and not the result of a fact-based, transparent, or equitable decision-making process”, Huawei said in a statement.

“[The decision] is not aligned with the long-term interests of the Australian people and denies Australian businesses and consumers the right to choose from the best communications technology available.”

Australia on Thursday gave telecoms providers new security guidance for fifth-generation (5G) mobile technology and warned that using government-linked suppliers would risk breaching their obligations.

Companies that were “likely to be subject to extrajudicial directions from a foreign government” could present a security risk, the guidance said. It did not specifically identify Huawei and fellow Chinese telecoms firm ZTE as examples, but under Chinese law, companies must co-operate with state intelligence services.

Australia’s security agencies have previously recommended Huawei and ZTE be barred from supplying 5G technology and analysts have warned that equipment produced by those firms could therefore be compromised.

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Huawei’s Australian operation issued a statement later on Thursday saying it would be unable to compete under the terms of the new guidance.

Huawei is the world’s biggest producer of telecoms equipment and ranks second in global smartphone sales, after Samsung and ahead of Apple. Huawei is also one of the core developers of 5G technology, the Chinese firm claims, and the Australian government’s decision “undermines the principles of competition and non-discrimination in global trade”, its strongly worded statement said.

“For any country, fair and robust market competition is essential to strong economic growth,” the statement added. “A non-competitive market will raise the cost of network construction and have lasting effects on Australia’s transition to a digital economy.”

The government has issued no specific concerns about Huawei’s governance, security or suitability to safely conduct business in Australia, according to Huawei.

It said it will continue to engage with the Australian government and take “all possible measures” to protect its legal rights and interests.

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