Huawei and ZTE shut out from Japanese 5G infrastructure

Image credit: reuters

Japan has become the latest country to shut out China-based Huawei and ZTE from its planned rollout of 5G infrastructure, according to reports from Kyodo News.

Last week, Reuters reported that Japan was considering banning public purchases of telecommunications equipment by Chinese telecommunications giants Huawei and ZTE, in order to avoid weakening its defences against cyber attacks and espionage.

Now, following discussions between the cyber-security officials representing relevant Japanese ministries, the Japanese government has decided to effectively exclude Huawei and ZTE from public procurement.

According to a spokesperson for SoftBank – the country’s third latest telecommunications company – the company would continue to observe government policy and consider its options, although the amount of its pre-installed equipment derived from Chinese companies is “relatively small”.

Meanwhile, NTT Docomo Inc and KDDI Corp – the country’s largest two telecommunications operators – said that they had not yet made decisions relating to the use of Huawei and ZTE equipment. Docomo had previously formed a partnership with Huawei to carry out 5G trials, although it does not use Huawei or ZTE hardware.

In recent months, major Chinese technology companies have come under intense scrutiny by the US government and its allies. Huawei and ZTE have been accused of having close ties to Beijing, with some suspicion that the companies’ hardware could be used by Chinese intelligence for surveillance. US consumers are unable to purchase Huawei smartphones and other devices and US companies are forbidden from shipping products to ZTE, while the Australian and New Zealand governments have effectively blocked the company’s involvement in supplying equipment for their next-generation 5G network infrastructures on national security grounds.

Huawei has denied that the Chinese government holds any influence over it.

The UK and Canadian governments have also considered the possible security implications of installing Huawei equipment, while last week BT began removing Huawei equipment from its 4G infrastructure and announced that it would not use Huawei’s equipment to build EE’s core 5G network.

Huawei – the world’s largest telecommunications equipment supplier – has suffered a difficult week, with its CFO Meng Wanzhou recently arrested by Canadian officials at the request of US authorities, sparking new fears of a China-US trade war. She reportedly faces charges of fraud related to business dealings with Iran in violation of trade sanctions, and could be extradited to the US.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has stated that it has summoned the US and Canadian ambassadors to address Meng’s “lawless, reasonless and ruthless” arrest.

Sign up to the E&T News e-mail to get great stories like this delivered to your inbox every day.

Recent articles