Huawei Eyes Off Australian 6G Network After 5G Ban

January 7, 2021 Updated: January 8, 2021

Huawei’s Australian arm has not given up developing the country’s future mobile network, saying it wants to be part of Australia’s distant 6G or 7G rollout.

In 2018, the Chinese telecommunications firm was banned from involvement in Australia’s 5G network due to security concerns.

Jeremy Mitchell, Huawei Australia’s chief corporate affairs officer, was confident though that the telco could contribute to future iterations.

“The conversation we now want to have with the Australian government is what do we do when 6G or 7G comes, because like it or not Huawei or another Chinese company will be the leader in this area,” Mitchell told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“We would like to work with the government to ensure Australia has access to the best technology but do so in a way which gives security agencies confidence in terms of risk mitigation,” he said.

“6G is just at the very beginning of research development, but it’s important to get in now to understand where this technology is going,” he added.

He pointed to Ericsson’s recent lobbying efforts to force the Swedish government to reverse its 5G ban on Huawei as  proof Australia made the wrong decision to ban the company.

“In Europe they’ve always had an open and competitive environment when it comes to the vendor space,” he said.

The Swedish Post and Telecommunications Administration issued a ban barring telcos from using Huawei or ZTE products or equipment in the nation’s 5G network.

Operators have until January 2025 to remove offending parts.

Ericsson CEO Borje Ekholm has threatened the Swedish government, saying the multinational would leave the country if the bans continued.

Ericsson meanwhile has extensive business interests in China and has 5G contracts with the three largest telecommunications companies, including China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom. These interests have contributed to soaring share prices and enormous profits for the company.

Simon Yuen from Artificial Intelligence Technology, who has 25 years’ experience in telecommunications, said 6G was still in its infancy and undergoing research and development.

He said it was also unlikely that the Australian government would allow Huawei’s involvement in future mobile networks.

“I think there would need to be a fairly substantial paradigm shift for Australia to adopt Huawei,” he told The Epoch Times.

“Changes at the political level would need to be wholesale in nature …” he said.

Australia was the first nation in the world to ban Huawei and ZTE in 2018 from involvement in its 5G network. The carrier was deemed a “high-risk vendor” under government guidelines for setting up 5G.

At the time current Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who was Acting Home Affairs Minister released a statement (pdf) saying the incumbent 4G network allowed separation between “core” and “edge” networks.

This means companies using the network for functions such as connecting handsets, laptops, and tablets, could be distanced from more sensitive core functions including access control and data routing.

5G however blurs the lines between these networks.

Morrison said in the statement that companies likely to be subject to “extrajudicial directions from a foreign government” could not adequately safeguard 5G from interference.