Australia bans Huawei, ZTE from selling 5G technology

Australia bans Huawei, ZTE from selling 5G technology
© Getty

Australia is barring the Chinese telecommunications companies Huawei and ZTE from building a 5G mobile broadband network, joining the U.S. in rejecting the companies.

Huawei said in a tweet on Thursday that it and its rival company ZTE had been banned from providing 5G tech to Australia, criticizing the move as an “extremely disappointing result for consumers.”

In a statement on Thursday, a pair of Australian ministers noted that as the country builds out its broadband network, it would exercise caution against companies “who are likely to be subject to extrajudicial directions from a foreign government that conflict with Australian law,” noting that involvement with those companies “may risk failure by the carrier to adequately protect a 5G network.”

The ministers did not specifically name Huawei or ZTE or specify China or any countries that might pose such threats.

U.S. intelligence has warned American lawmakers about the threat that companies like ZTE and Huawei pose. They claim that because of China’s tight ties to private businesses based within its borders, such firms can be easily compelled to offer a backdoor into their systems that would let the Chinese government spy on Americans and other countries’ government officials.

Huawei and ZTE have both maintained that they are private companies that operate independently of the Chinese government.

These severely hampered ZTE's business when the U.S. Commerce Department handed out stiff penalties to ZTE for violating U.S. sanctions laws against Iran.

The Trump administration ultimately stepped in, easing the penalties allowing the company to resume its temporarily shuttered operations.

Many U.S. lawmakers on both sides of the aisle still vehemently oppose ZTE and Huawei operating in the U.S. and forcefully pushed to try to maintain harsh penalties against ZTE.

Members of Congress have pushed legislation preventing the company’s from gaining government contracts and earlier this year, the Pentagon issued a ban on the sale of Huawei and ZTE phones on military bases.