Australia has banned China’s Huawei Technologies from supplying equipment for the country’s planned 5G mobile network, citing risks of foreign interference and hacking.
The government said in a statement Thursday that national security regulations typically applied to telecom carriers will now be extended to equipment suppliers, Reuters reports.
If firms which “are likely to be subject to extrajudicial directions from a foreign government” are allowed to build telecom infrastructure, it could leave Australia’s mobile network vulnerable to unauthorized access or interference, the statement said.
The statement did not identify Huawei specifically, but a government source told Reuters that the order was aimed at Huawei and precluded its involvement in the network.
The move, following advice from security agencies, signals a hardening of Australia’s stance toward Beijing as relations have soured over Canberra’s allegations of Chinese meddling in Australian politics, the report noted.
It also brings Australia in line with the United States, which has restricted Huawei and compatriot ZTE from its market for similar reasons.
According to some reports, Australia’s latest ban will also apply to ZTE, effectively barring Chinese telecom equipment firms from participating in 5G network rollout in the country.
Huawei’s Australian arm, which strenuously denies it is controlled by Beijing, said on Twitter on Thursday that Canberra’s action was an “extremely disappointing result for consumers”.
Australia had previously banned Huawei, China’s No.1 telecoms equipment maker, from providing equipment for its fiber-optic network.
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