Canada’s government has announced that Huawei and fellow Chinese tech giant ZTE will no longer be used in its 5G networks.
It highlights national security concerns in a statement, stating that suppliers might be forced to follow “extrajudicial orders from foreign governments” in ways that “conflict with Canadian laws or be damaging to Canadian interests.”
By September of this year, telcos will be unable to purchase new 4G or 5G equipment from the businesses, and they will require to remove any ZTE and Huawei-branded 5G equipment from their networks by June 28th, 2024.
By the end of 2027, remove all 4G network equipment.
“The Government dedicates to maximizing the social and economic advantages of 5G and universal access to telecoms services,” the Canadian government said in a statement.
With this step, Canada becomes the latest member of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance to impose limitations on Huawei and ZTE equipment in its communication networks. US telcos are spending billions of dollars removing and replacing Huawei equipment from their networks, while the United Kingdom banned Huawei’s equipment in 2020 and required its removal by 2027.
On national security reasons, Australia and New Zealand have similarly limited the use of their technology.
China’s National Intelligence Law, which opponents fear may use to force Chinese organizations and people to collaborate with state intelligence operations, is at the heart of these worries.
The danger is that this will compel Chinese tech companies such as Huawei and ZTE to send over sensitive data from international networks to the Chinese government.
The accusation is false, according to Huawei, and is based on a “misreading” of Chinese law. In reaction to Canada’s embargo, China’s Canadian embassy issued a statement saying, “China will completely and seriously assess this situation and take all necessary steps to defend the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese firms.”
Canada has also taken around three years to come to its decision about the use of Huawei and ZTE equipment in its telecom’s networks, a period which Bloomberg notes has coincided with worsening relations between it and China.
In December 2018, Canada arrested Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou on suspicion of violating US sanctions. Days later, China imprisoned two Canadian nationals: former diplomat Michael Spavor and entrepreneur Michael Kovrig.
After the US came to a deferred-prosecution deal with Meng that allow her to return to China last year, the Canadians released.
However, The delay questioned by opposition politicians in Canada.
“Canadian telecommunications businesses spent hundreds of millions of dollars on Huawei equipment over the years of delay”
“This will now have to remove from their networks at great expense,”
Conservative MP Raquel Dancho said in a statement. However, according to Bloomberg, BCE and Telus starts to reduce their usage of Huawei equipment due to worries of a ban.