Spark doubtful of overturning GCSB rejection

03 Dec 2018

New Zealand's Spark is skeptical it will be able to overturn a decision by the nation's Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) to disallow a proposal to use Huawei equipment in the operator's 5G rollout.

Spark announced last week that it had received a notice from the GCSB provisionally rejecting the operator's proposed rollout plan on the grounds that it could raise “significant national security risks.”

But GCSB Minister Andrew Little has been careful to note that the decision does not constitute a ban on Huawei equipment, noting that each decision under the relevant security legislation is project-based.

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Little also released a statement noting that the decision is not final, and that Spark is welcome to work with Huawei to attempt to address the GCSB's security concerns and have the decision reversed.

But Spark subsequently told the New Zealand Herald that while it welcomes any opportunity to work with the government to achieve a different decision, the fact that it felt the need to inform the market of the GCSB's position represents an indication of the operator's lack of confidence in the prospects of changing the GCSB's decision.

Meanwhile Little has moved to reassure the public that there is no chance the decision could lead to the requirement for Huawei equipment in the market's existing mobile networks to be removed, due to the much greater separation between the network edge and core in 3G and 4G networks compared to 5G networks.

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