Huawei 5G Update Banned by New Zealand Due to Security Reasons


On Wednesday, the New Zealand telco Spark said the country's intelligence services had banned it from using Huawei equipment in its new "5G" network - the fifth generation of mobile communications is on the horizon in many countries, promising improvements in mobile broadband capacity and coverage.

Spark says it has been notified by the Director-General of the GCSB that it can not use Huawei gear for its pending 5G mobile network upgrade.

"I can confirm the GCSB under its TICSA responsibilities, has recently undertaken an assessment of a notification from Spark".

GCSB today said it had informed Spark that a "significant network security risk was identified".

U.S. lawmakers have warned Canada to keep Huawei out of its 5G network plans, and American officials are reportedly pressuring Germany, Italy and Japan to stop using Huawei telecommunications equipment.

This is not the first time that Huawei is blocked from launching a 5G network as back in August, Australia had also banned Huawei 5G activities due to the same security concern.

Huawei is one of the world's biggest manufacturers of telecom equipment, including the network kit required for 5G mobile networks, which promise faster download speeds and better connections.

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Huawei's 5G New Radio on C-band and millimetre wave frequencies and the company's 4G RAN were deployed with dedicated hardware connected to a Cisco Evolved Packet Core system, with each of the components fully isolated.

After Huawei was prohibited from rolling out 5G infrastructure in Australia the company denied it posed a risk to national security and said it had "securely delivered wireless technology in Australia for close to 15 years". The company said it still plans to launch a 5G network by mid-2020.

Little said each decision regarding telecom technology was made separately under telecom and security legislation.

Spark rival 2degrees said it had noted the decision and was "seeking clarity on it".

Vodafone New Zealand Ltd. declined to comment about the matter. Last week, Spark and Huawei went live with a 5G trial that they said proved the RAN could be isolated.

In November, the United Kingdom government expressed security concerns about Huawei, even though early on, the United Kingdom had embraced the use of company's wireless, internet, and mobile services.

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.