Canada bans Huawei and ZTE from 5G networks, citing national security risks

Ban on shopping from September, rip and replace order with 2024 deadline

The Canadian government has joined many of its allies and banned the use of Huawei and ZTE tech in its 5G networks, as part of a new telecommunications security framework.

“The Government is committed to maximizing the social and economic benefits of 5G and access to telecommunications services writ large, but not at the expense of security,” stated the Government of Canada.

Companies using equipment or managed services from the two Chinese companies have been until 28 June 2024 to stop operating or remove the equipment.

Canada has already excluded the two Chinese companies from “sensitive areas” of Canadian 3G, 4G and LTE networks. But by the end of 2027, all Telecom companies must remove or terminate any ZTE or Huawei existing 4G equipment and managed services. By September 1, 2022, companies will have to stop buying 4G and 5G equipment from the two Chinese companies.

Canada said in the future it intends to impose restrictions on Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) equipment used in fibre-optic networks and its security review program will “expand to consider risks from all key suppliers.”

The decision to ban Huawei and ZTE came after extensive examination of 5G wireless technology and its implementation.

“In 5G systems, sensitive functions will become increasingly decentralized and virtualized in order to reduce latency, and the number of devices they will connect will also grow exponentially,” said the government.

It also said it had serious concerns about suppliers who “could be compelled to comply with extrajudicial directions from foreign governments in ways that would conflict with Canadian laws or would be detrimental to Canadian interests.”

The government cited its allies as having similar concerns. Canada is a member of the Five Eyes network alongside the United States, the UK, Australia and New Zealand. All four other nations have banned the equipment already.

Huawei has long insisted that its products are secure, that it will observe the laws of nations in which it does business, and dismised concerns about Beijing's ability to influence the company.

Some critics of the move say it is too little too late, like Conservative Party MP Micheal Chong who tweeted “It shouldn't have taken more than 3 years for the Trudeau government to ban Huawei. David Vigneault, director of CSIS, publicly warned the government about the threat from Huawei in early December 2018.”

Others have said the move puts an undue burden on telecom companies as they must pay to replace existing equipment.

But Canada has been in a tricky diplomatic place with the Chinese government since it arrested and detained Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou on a U.S. extradition warrant.

China is believed to have held Canadian citizens Micheal Spavor and Micheal Kovrig on charges of endangering state security as retaliation. Meng, Kovrig and Spavor were all released from custody on September 24, 2021.

China tech expert and author of books including US-China Tech War and Parallel Metaverses Nina Xiang told The Reg Huawei "probably expected" the ban.

“Huawei is expanding into other fields and has pared back ambition for their 5G. The western alliance pared that back for them.”

Xiang said Huawei will still enjoy strong demand from China’s domestic 5G networks as they continue to diversify their businesses.

“I think Huawei has some things that they had made them successful in the past and those things are still there and can be used for success in a different sector,” said Xiang, citing the smart home as a major and accessible target market for the company, becuase it uses “more mature” semiconductors build on 28nm or 45nm processes that Chinese chipmakers can easily produce.

“Cars is another field they are getting into and could have success. I am optimistic in their ability to succeed.” ®

Broader topics

Other stories you might like

  • ZTE intros 'cloud laptop' that draws just five watts of power
    The catch: It hooks up to desktop-as-a-service and runs Android – so while it looks like a laptop ...

    Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE has announced what it claims is the first "cloud laptop" – an Android-powered device that the consumes just five watts and links to its cloud desktop-as-a-service.

    Announced this week at the partially state-owned company's 2022 Cloud Network Ecosystem Summit, the machine – model W600D – measures 325mm × 215mm × 14 mm, weighs 1.1kg and includes a 14-inch HD display, full-size keyboard, HD camera, and Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. An unspecified eight-core processors drives it, and a 40.42 watt-hour battery is claimed to last for eight hours.

    It seems the primary purpose of this thing is to access a cloud-hosted remote desktop in which you do all or most of your work. ZTE claimed its home-grown RAP protocol ensures these remote desktops will be usable even on connections of a mere 128Kbit/sec, or with latency of 300ms and packet loss of six percent. That's quite a brag.

    Continue reading
  • Beijing probes security at academic journal database
    It's easy to see why – the question is, why now?

    China's internet regulator has launched an investigation into the security regime protecting academic journal database China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), citing national security concerns.

    In its announcement of the investigation, the China Cyberspace Administration (CAC) said:

    Continue reading
  • Xi Jinping himself weighs in on how Big Tech should deploy FinTech
    Beijing also outlines its GovTech vision and gets very excited about data

    China's government has outlined its vision for digital services, expected behavior standards at China's big tech companies, and how China will put data to work everywhere – with president Xi Jinping putting his imprimatur to some of the policies.

    Xi's remarks were made in his role as director of China’s Central Comprehensively Deepening Reforms Commission, which met earlier this week. The subsequent communiqué states that at the meeting Xi called for "financial technology platform enterprises to return to their core business" and "support platform enterprises in playing a bigger role in serving the real economy and smoothing positive interplay between domestic and international economic flows."

    The remarks outline an attempt to balance Big Tech's desire to create disruptive financial products that challenge monopolies, against efforts to ensure that only licensed and regulated entities offer financial services.

    Continue reading
  • China is trolling rare-earth miners online and the Pentagon isn't happy
    Beijing-linked Dragonbridge flames biz building Texas plant for Uncle Sam

    The US Department of Defense said it's investigating Chinese disinformation campaigns against rare earth mining and processing companies — including one targeting Lynas Rare Earths, which has a $30 million contract with the Pentagon to build a plant in Texas.

    Earlier today, Mandiant published research that analyzed a Beijing-linked influence operation, dubbed Dragonbridge, that used thousands of fake accounts across dozens of social media platforms, including Facebook, TikTok and Twitter, to spread misinformation about rare earth companies seeking to expand production in the US to the detriment of China, which wants to maintain its global dominance in that industry. 

    "The Department of Defense is aware of the recent disinformation campaign, first reported by Mandiant, against Lynas Rare Earth Ltd., a rare earth element firm seeking to establish production capacity in the United States and partner nations, as well as other rare earth mining companies," according to a statement by Uncle Sam. "The department has engaged the relevant interagency stakeholders and partner nations to assist in reviewing the matter.

    Continue reading
  • Always read the comments: Beijing requires oversight of all reader-generated chat
    'Editing and review' teams will be required to read everything and report dissent

    The Cyberspace Administration of China has announced a policy requiring all comments made to websites to be approved before publication.

    Outlined in a document published last Friday and titled "Provisions on the Administration of Internet Thread Commenting Services", the policy is aimed at making China's internet safer, and better represent citizens' interests. The Administration believes this can only happen if comments are reviewed so that only posts that promote socialist values and do not stir dissent make it online.

    To stop the nasties being published, the policy outlines requirements for publishers to hire "a review and editing team suitable for the scale of services".

    Continue reading
  • FCC: Applications for funds to replace Chinese comms kit lack evidence
    Well you told us to rip and ... hang on, we're not getting any money?

    The saga of the US government's plan to rip and replace China-made communications kit from the country's networks has a new twist: following reports that applications for funding far outstripped the cash set aside, it appears two-thirds of such applications lack adequate cost estimates or sufficient supporting evidence.

    The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) informed Congress that it had found deficiencies in 122 of the 181 of the applications filed with it by US carriers for funding to reimburse them for replacing telecoms equipment sourced from Chinese companies.

    The FCC voted nearly a year ago to reimburse medium and small carriers in the US for removing and replacing all network equipment provided by companies such as Huawei and ZTE. The telecoms operators were required to do this in the interests of national security under the terms of the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022