Chinese telco Huawei has warned the Federal government that a planned move to exclude it from the 5G network would result in less competition and not be in Australia’s “best interest.”
A Fairfax report earlier this month revealed that Huawei “is all but certain” to be left out of the upcoming network, as security concerns around the company and its ties to the Chinese government linger.
But the multi-billion-dollar company has hit back – warning that Australian customers will be the ones to pay for the government’s decision.
In a letter to Australian MPs titled ‘Huawei is good & safe for Australia’, Huawei Australia chairman John Lord and directors John Brumby and Lance Hockridge, expressed their disapproval over the government’s planned decision.
“To completely exclude Huawei from 5G in Australia means excluding Huawei from the entire Australian market and we don't believe this would be in Australia's best interest,” the statement says.
“Increased competition not only means cheaper prices but most importantly better access to the latest technologies and innovation.”
As well as developing mobile phones, PCs and tablets, Huawei is also a significant player in the mobile connectivity space, having built 1,500 networks around the world.
Its equipment is also used by some of Australia’s major telcos.
The letter highlights Huawei’s significant role in the Australian market, stating “one in every two Australians now rely on us for their daily communication needs.”
“Our telecommunications equipment connects millions of Australian businesses and consumers every day on the Vodafone, Optus and TPG mobile networks.
“Huawei Australia’s investment in telecoms infrastructure has driven incredible improvements and reliability in the Optus and Vodafone networks and now Australia has a vigorously contested wireless telecoms market that sees your constituents reaping the benefits from the enhanced competition.”
The anticipated decision to ban Huawei follows accusations from the US government that the telco has acted on behalf of the Chinese government.
“Huawei is effectively an arm of the Chinese government and it's more than capable of stealing information from US officials by hacking its devices,” said US Senator Tom Cotton earlier this year.
The US National Security Organisation and Department of Homeland Security also specifically advised Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to reject Huawei’s bid for the 5G network.
Addressing the publicly stated security concerns in the letter, Huawei stated that “many of these comments are ill-informed and not based on facts.”
“We are a private company, owned by our employees with no other shareholders. In each of the 170 countries where we operate, we abide by the national laws and guidelines. To do otherwise would end our business overnight.”
Huawei is currently playing a hand in the development of 5G networks in the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand.
It urged the Australian government to view this as an example of its compliance to local regulations and explained it would build an evaluation and testing centre in Australia “to ensure independent verification of our equipment.”
It also extended an invitation for Australian security officials to meet with the research and development team.
“We have hosted similar visits in recent times from security departments representing the governments of the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand. These engagements have fostered a better understanding in this critical policy area for both parties.”