Huawei warns 5G network exclusion can cost Australian customers

By @chelean on
FILE PHOTO: A worker adjusts the logo at the stand of Huawei at the CeBIT trade fair in Hanover, in this file picture taken March 15, 2015.
FILE PHOTO: A worker adjusts the logo at the stand of Huawei at the CeBIT trade fair in Hanover, in this file picture taken March 15, 2015. Reuters/Morris Mac Matzen/File Photo

Huawei is fighting back after it emerged that Australia could leave out the Chinese telco from its development of 5G mobile networks. Huawei Technologies Co Ltd has denied claims that it poses national security risk, sending an open letter to the Australian government to say that the view was “ill-informed.”

According to recent reports, Australia could disqualify Huawei from providing equipment for the planned 5G wireless network. Huawei apparently still has strong links to the Chinese government, and therefore it is considered a cyber espionage risk.

Huawei Australia chairman John Lord previously denied the company would be left out of the 5G, saying its executives were even “welcomed” in Canberra. “So we’re not really getting any concerns expressed to us in any way at all other than the reports in the media,” he said.

But it seems their confidence in not being excluded from 5G has waned. The networking giant has published a letter for the members of the Australian parliament, saying the reports about the company being a security risk were “not based on facts.”

“Recent public commentary around China has referenced Huawei and its role in Australia and prompted some observations around security concerns,” the telco’s chairman and two board directors John Brumby and Lance Hockridge wrote. “Many of these comments are ill-informed and not based on facts.”

It went on to say that since Huawei is now Australia’s largest wireless technology provider and half of telco users already rely on the company, the subscribers could be forced to pay higher prices.

“Increased competition not only means cheaper prices, but most importantly better access to the latest technologies and innovation,” the letter reads.

Huawei has insisted that it is an independent company, free from the Chinese government control. “We are a private company, owned by our employees with no other shareholders. In each of the 170 countries where we operate, we abide by the national laws and guidelines. To do otherwise would end our business overnight.”

It also noted Huawei’s 5G investments in the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand, and their respective governments have taken up the company’s offers for evaluation of its technology “to ensure it abides by its cybersecurity protocols.”

The letter continued, “We have an open invitation for Australian officials and security agencies to meet with our world-leading research and development teams to better understand our technology.”

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is expected to announce the government’s decision on 5G network soon.