© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A man walks past a Huawei billboard at the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) Asia 2018 in Shanghai
By Charlotte Greenfield
WELLINGTON (Reuters) – The New Zealand intelligence agency has rejected the country's first demand for telecommunications sector to use 5G equipment provided by the Chinese company Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, citing concerns over the national security.
Telecommunications Service Provider Spark New Zealand Ltd (NZ :), which made this request, announced Wednesday that it would review the reasoning before considering any other measures.
The decision comes as Western countries are increasingly wary of what they say is a possible involvement of the Chinese government in fifth generation mobile and other communication networks. Huawei has repeatedly said that Beijing has no influence over her.
Earlier this year, neighboring Australia had banned Huawei from supplying 5G equipment, also citing security risks. Last week, the Wall Street Journal announced that the US government was trying to persuade companies in allied countries to avoid Huawei.
"I informed Spark that a significant risk to network security had been identified," said Wednesday the director general of the government's Communications Security Bureau, Andrew Hampton.
Intelligence Minister Andrew Little told Reuters that Spark – whose application was part of the country's first 5G application – could work with the agency to mitigate risks. He declined to specify concerns, citing classified information.
Huawei said in a statement that he "would actively address all concerns and work together to find a way forward," adding that he had signed more than 20 5G contracts with carriers in the whole world.
Speaking in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang expressed "serious concern" and said that Sino-New Zealand trade relations are mutually beneficial and beneficial to all parties .
"We hope that the New Zealand government will provide an environment of fair competition to Chinese companies operating in New Zealand and will do more to build confidence and bilateral cooperation," he said at a conference in New Zealand. daily press.
Huawei has been involved in other telecommunications systems in New Zealand, such as its 4G mobile network, and is investing NZD 400 million (US $ 271.88 million) in research and development.
Little said that each decision regarding telecommunications technology was made separately under telecommunications and security legislation.
"The difference between 5G networks and conventional 4G and 3G networks lies in the configuration of the technology," said Mr. Little. "With 5G technology, every component of the 5G network provides access to all parts of the network."
This echoed Australian concerns that, with 5G, it was difficult to limit the suppliers considered to be high risk for the less sensitive components of a network.
Spark's rival, 2degrees, said he took note of the decision and "seek clarification".
"The importance of the presence of multiple suppliers to ensure price competitiveness is still valid.If this announcement has a similar impact on 2degrees, it will be a real disappointment for the competition," Mathew Bolland, manager, told Reuters relationships with companies.
Vodafone (LON 🙂 New Zealand Ltd declined to comment on the case.
($ 1 = $ 1.4712 New Zealand dollar)
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