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EXCLUSIVE:Telstra Pushing 5G & mmWave On’ High Security Risk’ ZTE Products

Telstra chief executive Andy Penn has moved to spruiking products made by a banned Chinese Company who the carrier kicked out of their stores last year.

In an effort to talk up 5G he yesterday introduced a new mmWave 5G device that he wants Australians to use in their homes and businesses instead of NBN.

The device is made by ZTE a Company that US security services banned because of security risks similar to what is associated with Huawei products that have been banned by the Australian Federal Government.

Telstra are set to turn on their mmWave technology this year using ZTE made connection devices. 

In recent months Telstra has also moved to expand their sale of ZTE made smartphones that are branded as Telstra devices. Consumers are not being told that the smartphones are made by a Company that has been branded a national security risk by the US Government.

In November, the US Federal Communication Commission voted 5-0 to initially designate ZTE as a national security risk in a move that would bar their U.S. rural carrier customers from tapping an $8.5 billion government fund to purchase equipment.

ZTE responded asking the FCC to “take additional time to assess ZTE’s export control and economic sanctions compliance and security controls in ZTE products.”

Internal management at Telstra who have contacted ChannelNews said that they are concerned at the volume of ZTE products that are being sold and supported by Telstra.

Internal documents show that up to 40% of Telstra’s prepaid portfolio of Telstra branded devices are now from Chinese Company ZTE despite internal documents that were syndicated internally shortly after Telstra lifted their ban on ZTE products indicating that products from banned Chinese Companies such as ZTE would not make up more than 25% of their portfolio.

Telstra has been given access to ACMA scientific licences ahead of the mmWave spectrum auctions set for next year to run trials at various locations using equiptment from the security risk Company ZTE.

One of those locations is believed to be the MCG in Melbourne.

According to Telstra mmWave 5G technology allows greater capacity on the network but the downside is that it has less propagation.

Telstra has not explained why they are supporting a brand whose products are banned in the USA.

ChannelNews understands that the Federal Government has also considered banning ZTE after they banned carriers from using Huawei 5G products in their network.

In its November vote, the FCC required that U.S. carriers remove and replace equipment from Chinese Company ZTE, from their existing networks.

The companies’ ties to the Chinese government and military apparatus, and laws requiring their assistance in intelligence activities, are why they pose a security risk, the FCC said.

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