Sci-tech

Huawei blocked from 5G upgrade in New Zealand over ‘significant’ security risk

Huawei blocked from 5G upgrade in New Zealand over ‘significant’ security risk”

New Zealand's worldwide spy agency on Wednesday halted mobile company Spark from using Huawei equipment in its planned 5G upgrade, saying it posed a "significant network security risk".

Under New Zealand law, the GCSB must assess major network upgrades.

Spark said today it had been notified by the Director-General of the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) that it can not use Huawei gear for the upgrade.

Huawei suffered a setback in the United States market in 2012 when a congressional report said it was a security risk and warned phone companies not to buy its equipment.

Australia also banned Huawei equipment from its planned 5G networks earlier this year.

The decision comes just a week after Spark and Huawei showcased a trial 5G network in Auckland, emphasising the separation of core and edge, with the companies already having achieved a 5G millimetre-wave (mmWave) call through the network. The companies compete for customers over their own network of cell towers, using radio spectrum that is licensed from the government. 5G, the next generation of mobile technology, is expected to be up to 10 times as fast as its predecessor 4G, and be used to connect myriad devices beyond phones to the internet, in the so-called internet of things.

The company says the decision will not affect plans to launch Spark's 5G network by 1 July 2020.

The TICSA process could ultimately end with Little being required to make a decision on whether to approve the network, but Little said the process was "nowhere near that point at this stage".

The US administration has been trying to convince allied countries to avoid the use of technology from Huawei amid concerns that the world's largest telecom equipment maker could be using its equipment for cyber espionage as part of cooperation with Chinese intelligence agencies.

"New Zealand and China have a mature relationship, which is much broader than this issue".

The company said it has signed more than 20 commercial contracts for 5G equipment andtechnology, but didn't disclose the companies or countries involved in those deals.

Huawei is a Chinese multinational telecommunications equipment and services company which supplies its products and services in more than 170 countries.

Spark chief executive Simon Moutter had strongly defended Huawei as a safe technology partner with cheaper pricing than competitors after the Australian ban on the Chinese vendor.



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