Perth awards Huawei $136M contract to provide 4G communications for trains

By @chelean on
FILE PHOTO: A man walks past a sign board of Huawei at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) Asia 2018 in Shanghai, China June 14, 2018.
FILE PHOTO: A man walks past a sign board of Huawei at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) Asia 2018 in Shanghai, China June 14, 2018. Reuters/Aly Song/File Photo

Huawei has won Perth’s $126 million contract to build and maintain a 4G communications system for its rail network. There have been security concerns involving the Chinese telco, but the McGowan Government said it first checked with the Federal Government before pushing through with the contract.

Perth’s Radio Systems Replacement project will see Huawei design, install and commission a digital radio solution along the state’s 180km rail network. This includes the new Forrestfield-Airport Link tunnels.

Huawei said it would deliver the project as part of a joint venture with UGL. Once the project is completed, Huawei-UGL will maintain the system for five years, with the option to do so for another 10 years.

The partnership has raised serious concerns with WA Opposition Leader Mike Nahan. He said that as the project would be integrated with data from emergency services within a year, it would create “serious strategic issues with Huawei’s ownership and operation of the facility.”

He believed that Huawei only won the contract because of the cost and the government did not consider other issues. “There are serious strategic issues related to this contract,” he said.

But WA Premier Mark McGowan was confident that there would no problems with the contract as they consulted the Federal Government before awarding it to Huawei.

“We sought advice from the Federal Government, from essentially federal security agencies on two separate occasions about whether or not there was any security issues whatsoever,” he said. “And the Federal Government advice is there was no security issue whatsoever involved in this decision. We provided that security advice to the State Opposition, for them not to ignore that I think shows just how low they’ll go.”

Intelligence community services have told the ABC that Huawei is considered a cyber espionage risk by Australia. Last month, it was speculated that it would be denied from participating in the country’s 5G network due to security concerns.

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