Australia's TPG ceases mobile rollout due to Huawei 5G ban

29 Jan 2019

Australian fixed line operator TPG Telecom has ceased the rollout of its mobile network in Australia due to the government's decision to ban Huawei equipment from 5G rollouts.

The operator had since April 2017 been in the process of expanding to the mobile market, deploying a network largely based on small cell architecture, and had selected Huawei as its primary vendor.

But after the Australian government announced in August last year that it would prohibit the use of Huawei equipment in 5G networks due to purported national security concerns, TPG has been forced to rethink its plan.

In a stock exchange filing, TPG said it had been rolling out equipment that it had ordered prior to the government's announcement, but was now required to make the decision whether to continue placing orders for additional equipment.

After much deliberation, the company decided that it does not make commercial sense to continue deploying a network that cannot be upgraded to 5G.

TPG Telecom has to date invested around A$100 million in mobile network equipment, has fully or partially completed the implementation of just over 900 small cell sites, and has already committed to capital expenditure of a further A$30 million.

The operator may still expand into the mobile market due to its proposed merger with mobile operator Vodafone Australia, but it is currently uncertain whether competition regulator ACCC will approve the merger. In December, the regulator released a preliminary statement of issues outlining a number of competition concerns.

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