Tuesday, 16 July 2019 11:58

Huawei welcomes UK stance, says Australia yet to give reason for 5G ban Featured

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Huawei welcomes UK stance, says Australia yet to give reason for 5G ban Pixabay

The British Government has taken a much more intelligent approach to the 5G security issue and has conducted an open and transparent process around it, the local arm of Chinese telecommunications equipment vendor Huawei Technologies says, adding that it had fully co-operated with the process.

The company was reacting to the publication of a letter from the UK Parliamentary Science and Technology Committee that said it had found no evidence to suggest that Huawei's complete exclusion from British telecommunications networks would constitute "a proportionate response to the potential security threat posed by foreign suppliers".

In a statement, Huawei Australia said the conclusion confirmed its own position "that it is perfectly possible for governments and network operators to work with Huawei on deploying 5G technology in a safe and secure manner".

It said this was already being done in many parts of the world, with Huawei having signed 50 contracts for commercial 5G deployment, more than half of which were in Europe.

The statement was not short on digs at the Australian Government, saying the UK report was "yet another repudiation of the rushed and chaotic decision to exclude Huawei from 5G by the Turnbull Government – based on inaccurate technical advice - in its dying final hours".

Huawei Australia also took a dig at the claims made by former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull that there was no separation between the core and non-core parts of a 5G network.

"It was particularly noteworthy that the Science & Technology Committee report also concluded – in direct contradiction to claims made by the Turnbull Government – that the Core Network and Radio Access Network can be separated on 5G networks," the statement said.

The head of the Australian Signals Directorate, Mike Burgess, was quoted last October in The Australian as saying: "The distinction between core and edge collapses in 5G networks. That means that a potential threat anywhere in the network will be a threat to the whole network."

When iTWire queried this statement, the ASD claimed that Burgess was referring to "mature" and "far more capable 5G network architectures". But this was put in serious doubt during a 3GPP panel discussion in September last year.

Nigel Phair, director of UNSW Canberra Cyber, has also parroted this view.

The Huawei Australia statement said while the UK had discussed 5G issues openly, "in Australia Huawei has yet to even receive written confirmation of the 5G ban being in place and has still not been given an explanation as to why it was imposed".

Huawei Australia Corporate and Public Affairs director Jeremy Mitchell said: "It is very pleasing to see the UK government take an evidence based approach to this matter – there are clearly lessons to be learned here for the Australian Government.

“Huawei complies with all the local laws and regulations wherever we operate and we have always been willing to engage with the Australian Government to answer any questions they may have or to work through any concerns.

“We remain open to talking to the Australian Government and to taking whatever measures necessary to demonstrate the safety and security of our equipment – just as we are already doing in the UK and Europe.

“With so many Australians feeling let down by the speeds being delivered on the national broadband network, it is crucial that Australia gets the best possible 5G networks – as things stand that is not going to happen – and it will be Australian mobile users who pay the price.”

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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