New Zealand's Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) has provisionally rejected an application by incumbent operator Spark to use Huawei equipment in its 5G rollout.
The GCSB told Spark that its proposed network rollout plan could raise “significant national security risks, Stuff.co.nz reported.
The minister responsible for the GCSB, Andrew Little, has denied that the proposal was rejected due to the fact that Huawei is a Chinese company, insisting instead that the decision was due to the technology involved.
He said the decision represents the start of an approval process rather than the end, and Spark will have the opportunity to attempt to convince the Bereau that it can mitigate the purported risks.
Little also denied that the decision was politically motivated. But the US government has been pressuring its allies to follow its lead and ban Huawei equipment from network rollouts, and New Zealand's close economic partner Australia has already banned Huawei and ZTE from participating in Australian 5G rollouts.
In addition, the GCSB has refused to provide any evidence behind its reasoning, stating that the information is classified. But a report by the bureau that could recommend a partial ban on Huawei providing equipment for New Zealand's 5G rollouts is expected to be completed soon.
In a statement, Huawei said it is looking into the situation, and plans to “actively address any concerns and work together to find a way forward.” The company said it has signed more than 20 commercial 5G contracts to date, and remains “committed to developing trusted and secure solutions” in the segment.