TPG Telecom has stopped work on Australia’s 5G mobile network. Picture: William West/AFP
TPG Telecom has stopped work on Australia’s 5G mobile network. Picture: William West/AFP

Work stops on 5G mobile network

TPG Telecom has stopped work on Australia's 5G mobile network because of the federal government's ban on them using equipment from China's Huawei.

In 2017, the telecommunications giant paid $1.26 billion for the spectrum and has already spent $100 million on the country's fourth network using Huawei equipment.

Huawei were banned from building Australia’s 5G network last year. Picture: AP/Andy Wong
Huawei were banned from building Australia’s 5G network last year. Picture: AP/Andy Wong

The country's second largest internet service provider said the security-driven ban on using Huawei equipment in 5G networks means it "is not in a position at this time to announce any decision on its future strategy for TPG's current spectrum holdings".

Executive chairman David Teoh said TPG, which is also in the midst of a merger with Vodafone, said the project "has been undone by factors outside of TPG's control".

Australian Signals Directorate director-general Mike Burgess said the next-generation mobile network would have been at risk had Huawei been allowed to build it. Picture: Kym Smith
Australian Signals Directorate director-general Mike Burgess said the next-generation mobile network would have been at risk had Huawei been allowed to build it. Picture: Kym Smith

Last year, Australia's spy chief Mike Burgess said the entire 5G network would have been at risk if the Chinese company had have been allowed to build it.

"This is about more than just protecting the confidentiality of our information - it is also about integrity and availability of the data and systems that we rely on in our everyday lives," Mr Burgess said in October last year.

The federal government announced the Huawei ban in August, 2018, explaining there was too much risk involving companies that were "likely to be subject to extrajudicial directions from a foreign government that conflict with Australian law".

Huawei - the world's third-largest smartphone manufacture - has insisted it would never pass on Australian customer data to Chinese spy agencies.

"This is a [sic] extremely disappointing result for consumers," the electronics behemoth tweeted at the time of the ban.

"Huawei is a world leader in 5G."

Then-acting Home Affairs Minister Scott Morrison said it was vital to protect Australia's 5G networks.

"The security of 5G networks will have fundamental implications for all Australians, as well as the security of critical infrastructure, over the next decade," he said last year.

Huawei is also facing a legal battle in America over fraud allegations, with the US Justice Department filing charges against the tech company.

A 13-count indictment was unsealed on Monday in New York charging Huawei, two of its affiliates and a top executive at the company.

The charges include bank fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

A separate case filed in Washington state charges Huawei with stealing trade secrets from T-Mobile.

Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was arrested last year. Picture: Darryl Dyck/AP
Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was arrested last year. Picture: Darryl Dyck/AP

Meng Wanzhou, the company's chief financial officer, was arrested in Canada on December 1 last year.

Prosecutors allege she committed fraud by misleading American banks about Huawei's business deals in Iran.

Prosecutors charge Huawei used a Hong Kong shell company to sell equipment in Iran in violation of US sanctions.

Huawei is the world's biggest supplier of network gear used by phone and internet companies.



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