New Zealand's Government Communications Security Bureau has stepped in to prevent Mobile Network Operators from using Huawei 5G RAN equipment. In line with other Five-Eyes nations, it is expected the decision follows the US' controversial sanctioning program which attempts to limit Chinese regional influence.
Spark New Zealand recently notified the Director-General of the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), in accordance with the requirements of the Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Act 2013 (TICSA), of its proposed approach to implementing 5G technology on the Spark mobile network.
Specifically, this proposal involved the deployment of Huawei 5G equipment in Spark’s planned 5G Radio Access Network (RAN), which involves the technology associated with cell tower infrastructure.
The Director-General has informed Spark today that he considers Spark’s proposal to use Huawei 5G equipment in Spark’s planned 5G RAN would, if implemented, raise significant national security risks.
Under TICSA, this means Spark cannot implement or give effect to its proposal to use Huawei RAN equipment in its planned 5G network.
Spark has not yet had an opportunity to review the detailed reasoning behind the Director-General’s decision. Following our review, Spark will consider what further steps, if any, it will take.
While we are disappointed with this decision, we are confident that the decision will not affect our plans to launch Spark’s 5G network by 1 July 2020, subject to the necessary spectrum being made available by the New Zealand Government.