Australia is reportedly set to ban Chinese vendor Huawei from supplying telecoms equipment for 5G networks in the country due to security concerns over sensitive data, Reuters reported.
Two sources told the news agency Australia is set to act on long-running suspicions held by western intelligence agencies regarding Huawei’s links to the Chinese government and associated concerns its equipment could be used for spying.
Last month, Huawei hit back at criticism from the country regarding the security of its equipment, as it attempted to dismiss concerns and avoid being locked out of the bidding for 5G contracts.
Huawei promised Australian officials complete oversight over its 5G equipment, including the deployment of base stations, towers and radio transmission equipment, apparently to no avail.
Reuters noted such a model has been accepted by other countries, including the UK, whereby government officials review all of the vendor’s products.
The US, however, shut out Huawei from most of its networks, while its rural business in the country is also under threat.
Australian intelligence agencies have said such an oversight model or other safeguards adopted by other western countries including Canada and Germany, would not be sufficient to allay their concerns and a ban is looking likely.
One of the government sources told Reuters that, as a Chinese company and under communist law, “they have to work for their intelligence agencies if requested”.
“There aren’t many other companies around the world that have their own political committees.”
Rail network deal
While Huawei is facing a ban on Australia’s 5G networks, the company this week reportedly won a contract in the country to build and maintain radio systems, designed to deliver voice and data services on the rail network in the city of Perth.
The reports state the deal from the Public Transport Authority of Western Australia is worth AUD136 million ($101 million): it will start later this month and is scheduled for completion in 2021.