Communications giant Huawei appears desperate to get in on the 5G action in Australia and has taken the unusual step of publishing an open letter to Australian MPs.
Huawei, founded in the 1980’s, is a Guangdong, China based company primarily involved with telecommunications equipment and services. As well as selling many millions of phones, it has also built more than 1,500 networks around the world.
The company has maintained a presence in Australia for years and wanted to be a part of building the National Broadband Network (NBN). It was banned from doing so by the Australian Government on the premise of security concerns regarding the company’s alleged relationship with the Chinese government.
Another significant project Huawei has recently missed out on is a new undersea cable connecting Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea with Australia. The Solomon Islands undersea cable component was originally to be constructed by Huawei, but then the Australian Government offered to fund the project.
Huawei was pushed out of the picture and earlier this week, Vocus announced it has been contracted by the Australian Government to construct the project, which is expected to be completed late next year.
Huawei is also very keen on participating in the construction of 5G (5th generation wireless) networks in Australia. Among its various benefits, 5G offers much faster fixed wireless and mobile broadband speeds. However, it was reported earlier this month the company will be likely excluded from this as well, also based on national security grounds given Australia’s 5G networks will be considered critical infrastructure.
In an open letter signed by Huawei Australia Chairman John Lord AM and Board Directors John Brumby AM and Lance Hockridge, the company has pleaded its case; assuring MPs that “Huawei is good & safe for Australia.”
It says many of the comments about Huawei in relation to national security have been 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,” states part of the letter.
Huawei has said during discussions with Australian Government agencies about its 5G proposal, it has offered to build an evaluation and testing centre to ensure local independent verification of its equipment.
Whether the open letter helps win the hearts and minds of MPs remains to be seen. The decision whether to allow it to supply 5G equipment is down to the federal government’s Critical Infrastructure Centre, part of the Department of Home Affairs.