Huawei faces rejection for New Zealand 5G deployment contract
New Zealand's Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) has rejected a bid from the company Spark to deploy a 5G network in the country. This is because the use of Huawei-brand equipment was involved in the proposal. However, GCSB representatives were quick to insist that the Chinese government, or any relationship Huawei may have with it, did not influence this decision.
The NZ Minister of Justice, Andrew Little, stressed that the proposal had been blocked as a result of "significant national security risks" in an interview. However, the minister would not go into further detail on these risks, categorizing them as "classified". On the other hand, Spark is now apparently invited to make amends to its bid in order to mitigate these risks. Should the company be successful in this, it may be able to submit a proposal, with or without Huawei hardware.
Mr. Little's only elaboration on the issue was that:
"It's not about the supplier necessarily it's about the technology they wish to introduce, the nature of it, which is different to technology currently used in our telecommunications networks."
However, the Chinese government representative Geng Shuang noted that the GCSB's decision was a cause for "serious concern". This may be related to the fact that this is not the first 5G network Huawei has been blocked from. In August 2018, it was announced that this company, along with another (ZTE), was barred from setting up next-gen mobile networks in Australia. The government of this nation, as with NZ, cited national security concerns in reaching a similar decision.
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