Huawei & ZTE 5G equipment to be banned in Canada

Canadian telcos have joined forces with Sweden's Ericsson and Finland's Nokia Oyj to build 5G network.

Irwan Shah | May 20, 2022, 12:57 PM

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Huawei Technologies and ZTE 5G equipment will be banned in Canada to protect its national security, reported Reuters.

With this move, Canada will take the same stance as its Five Eyes allies, an intelligence alliance by the US, UK, Canada Australia and New Zealand that stems from the Cold War.

Ordered to dismantle 5G equipment

Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said on May 19 that Canada will exclude Huawei and ZTE on the country's 5G networks.

"Providers who already have this equipment installed will be required to cease its use and remove it under the plans we're announcing today."

According to Reuters, companies with 5G equipment from Huawei or ZTE will need to dismantle by June 2024. The removal of their 4G gear will be mandatory by the end of 2027.

Ditching Huawei and ZTE

Huawei Canada's vice president of corporate affairs Alykhan Velshi responded that the company still awaits the type of national security threats that it might pose to the country.

He added that there are still 1,500 Huawei employees in research and development in Canada, reported Reuters.

Prior to its May 19 decision, the Canadian government have already selected 5G gear from other companies.

Bell Canada and its rival Telus have joined forces by partnering with Sweden's Ericsson and Finland's Nokia Oyj as their main equipment suppliers to build 5G telecom networks in Canada, reported Reuters in 2020.

Diplomatic relations between Canada and China

Reuters reported that this move was not unexpected but had been delayed due to the diplomatic tensions between China and Canada.

Canada had looked into the possibility of threats that Huawei equipment posed back in Sept. 2018. Huawei's chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was arrested in December that year under a U.S. warrant.

This resulted in a pickle between China and Canada, with two Canadian men arrested in China and accused of espionage. The men were released on the same day as Meng in Sept. 2021.

The two countries' strained relations have since eased slightly, with China removing a three-year restriction on Canadian canola seed imports.

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