New Zealand Security Bureau halts Spark from using Huawei 5G equipment

Pierluigi Paganini December 03, 2018

New Zealand intelligence agency asked mobile company Spark to avoid using Huawei equipment for 5G infrastructure.

According to New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau, Huawei equipment for 5G infrastructure poses a “significant network security risk,” for this reason, it asked mobile company Spark to avoid using the equipment of the Chinese company.

The announcement follows the decision of the Australian Government to ban Huawei equipment from Australia’s 5G network due to security concerns.

New Zealand is a member of the FiveEyes intelligence alliance, the remaining countries (UK, US, Australia), except Canada, banned Huawei over security fears.

The Chinese company has been founded by a former People’s Liberation Army official in 1987. The US was the first country that warned of the security risks associated with the usage of the products manufactured by the Chinese telecommunications giant.

The Chinese firm denies having shared Australian customer data with the Chinese intelligence, but it is not enough for the Australian Government.

Australian authorities also banned the Chinese firm ZTE Corp.

Huawei was already helping Spark to build 5G mobile networks.

“In New Zealand, Huawei has previously helped build mobile networks. In March, Spark and Huawei showcased a 5G test site across the street from the Parliament, in a publicity move that was attended by then Broadcasting Minister Clare Curran.” reported the Associated Press.

China and New Zealand have a good commercial partnership and the ban imposed by the government could have severe repercussions on it. In 2008, New Zealand signed a free-trade deal with China.

“The economic and trade cooperation between China and New Zealand is mutually beneficial in nature,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang.

“We hope New Zealand will provide a level-playing field for Chinese enterprises’ operation there and do something conducive for mutual trust and cooperation.”

Which is the Spark’s opinion on the ban?

The company is disappointed with the decision by New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau, it is doing all the best to launch the 5G network by July 2020.

“Spark said it had wanted to use Huawei 5G equipment in its planned Radio Access Network, which involves technology associated with cell tower infrastructure.” concludes the AP.

“The company said it has not yet had time to review the detailed reasoning behind the spy agency’s decision, or whether it will take further steps.”

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – New Zealand, Huawei)

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