Wednesday, 04 March 2020 10:47

Huawei Australia cuts staff, board in restructure Featured

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Huawei Australia chairman John Lord is no longer part of the company. Huawei Australia chairman John Lord is no longer part of the company. Courtesy YouTube

Chinese telecommunications equipment vendor Huawei Technologies is restructuring its Australian operations with the company having taken a major hit due to its being banned from playing a role in supplying equipment for Australian 5G networks.

iTWire understands that the board, including its well-known chairman John Lord, will no longer be part of the set-up. Instead, a chief executive will be head of operations as it sheds about 500 jobs.

Lord, who has been active in speaking to the media in a bid to play down the allegations levelled against the company, both locally and in other countries, told staff in a message that independent board member Lance Hockridge and he would no longer be part of the organisation.

Huawei Australia will retain its Consumer and Enterprise businesses and also continue to serve customers of its solar business.

The company has been in Australia for 16 years and about half of the population is connected to 4G networks through its equipment.

After the US blacklisted Huawei in May last year, the company has been unable to use Google's Android mobile operating system on its smartphones, making them an unattractive proposition in the Australian market as well.

One ongoing deal for the company is a $136 million Perth Transport Authority contract which it was awarded in July 2018.

The deal, which is to build and maintain digital radio services that would provide voice and data services across the rail network in Perth, is due for completion in 2021.

Despite having also been banned from tendering for the NBN in 2012, Huawei has increased its annual revenue from $229 million in 2011 to $735 million in 2018.

The US has been campaigning for the last several years to get countries it consider allies to prohibit Huawei from any role in 5G networks. Australia and Vietnam have fallen in line and said so in public.

Countries like Japan, South Korea and Poland have indicated that they are likely to toe the US line, but have yet to make public pronouncements.

In January, the UK took an independent line, saying it would allow Huawei to supply up to 35% of gear for the non-core parts of its 5G networks.

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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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