Canada to Ban Huawei and ZTE from 5G Network

Canada said it plans to ban the use of China’s Huawei and ZTE 5G gear over national security concerns, joining the other nations of the “Five Eyes” alliance of intelligence sharing. Industry Minister Champagne announced the decision to reporters on Thursday, adding the providers that own equipment from those companies would be required to cease their use and remove them.

Champagne said the companies that are required to remove equipment will not be reimbursed. The deadline is set for June 2024. Providers using Huawei or ZTE 4G equipment must remove it by the end of 2027.

While the decision was expected, it has been previously delayed because of diplomatic tensions with China. The rest of the Five Eyes network, consisting of the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand other than Canada, has already banned the equipment.

Canada first announced its concern over Huawei equipment and said it would review the possible threats to national security.

In December of the same year, Huawei CFO Meng was arrested in Canada on a U.S. warrant, creating a long-running dispute with China that finally ended last September with Meng’s release.

After Meng’s arrest, two Canadians were arrested by Beijing and accused of espionage. The two men were released the same day as Meng.

After that, diplomatic tensions have somewhat eased. China removed a three year restriction on canola seed imports from Canada, which was considered as a retaliatory move for Meng’s arrest.

Thursday’s decision comes after telecom companies in Canada already decided to use other companies’ 5G hardware.

China’s Embassy in Canada said the alleged security issues was a pretext for political manipulation. The embassy accused Canada of working with the United States to put pressure on Chinese companies.

In 2020, Bell Canada and Telus Corp, two of the country’s biggest wireless providers, agreed with Sweden’s Ericsson and Finland’s Nokia Oyj to build 5G networks, ditching Huawei despite using its 4G gear.

In addition to the ban, Public Safety Minister Mendicino said Canada would draft new legislation to protect critical financial, telecommunications, energy and transport infrastructure from cyber threats.

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