Telecommunications are always evolving. New standards are implemented, allowing for more speed, more data and better connectivity across the globe. Unless you’re Tony Abbott* and the current Australian Federal Government. They think that two tin cans joined with a string is actually sufficient for the future. We’ve known for some time now that 5G mobile networks were coming. The technology standard promises turbocharged speeds and the ability for more interconnectivity. One of the world’s best suppliers of 5G equipment is Huawei, which has been banned from working on a number of Western 5G networks with New Zealand’s Spark the latest on the list.
As with all Western economies, New Zealand companies are upgrading its mobile networks with a target for 5G to be operational by 2020. Spark is one of the largest mobile companies in the country. Huawei is a Chinese telecommunications equipment provider and mobile device manufacturer. Indeed, some of its Android phones are seen to be pretty innovative and competitive against other industry leaders. However there are concerns about the company’s equipment because it has potential ties to the Chinese Communist Party. Given the recent concerns about China’s apparent sponsorship of cyberattacks against Western targets, the concerns seem to be valid.
The concerns seem to be valid as security researchers have previously found deliberate backdoors installed on Huawei phones. However, security assessments conducted by the United Kingdom have shown that recent Huawei infrastructure equipment seems to be clean. If that is the case, there might not be a case to ban Huawei equipment from any 5G networks apart from “the vibe” of the situation. For its part, Spark has reaffirmed that its 5G network will be operational by 2020 despite the Huawei ban enforced by the Director-General of New Zealand’s Communications Security Bureau.
Whether the ban against Huawei equipment is based on real tangible threats to privacy and data security or the desire to “cover all bases” is unclear, 5G is coming. Hopefully it will indeed fulfil its promise as a big leap forward in communications technology.
* This website has no political affiliations. However it cannot abide by bad decisions made by people with no grasp of science, technology or the future. Despite being the Prime Minister who ruined a vital infrastructure project, there’s no punishment for him. So seriously, if you can contribute to this effort, do it.