Key Telstra 5G Partners Have Chinese Communist Party Links, As Huawei Tipped To Get Green Light
Chinese Company Huawei is tipped to get the green light to be a major supplier of 5G mobile technology as serious questions about Chinese Communist Party connections emerge for key Telstra partners Nokia and Ericsson.
With a decision due later this month Huawei is expected to face some restrictions in its bid to roll out a 5G mobile network in Australia with a full ban of the Chinese telco equipment maker unlikely claim Federal Government sources.
While the focus has been on Huawei little attention has been given to key Telstra 5G partners Nokia and Ericsson.
The Communist Party links of Nokia joint venture company Nokia Shanghai Bell are clearly displayed on its Chinese Communist Party webpage. Nokia Shanghai Bell’s chairman, Yuan Xin, is also the secretary of the company’s Communist Party branch.
The board of Ericsson’s Chinese joint venture partner, Nanjing Panda Electronics, features several directors who also hold Communist Party positions. Nanjing Panda is a major supplier of communications equipment to China’s military.
This information has been supplied to Federal Government officials investigating the risks that Australia face in allowing Chinese made telecommunication and network products to be used at the heart of Australia’s communication networks.
Huawei’s Australian critics have raised Chinese intelligence and cyber security laws which require all companies and citizens to assist Beijing with intelligence work and report telecommunication system vulnerabilities.
Huawei Australia chairman John Lord has said that the company poses no threat to Australia’s national security.
One area where Huawei could face restrictions is the radio access network layer of the mobile networks, highly sensitive technology that allows mobile phones to move between towers.
Huawei currently operates in the radio access network layer of 4G mobile networks for Optus and Vodafone. However, it may be forced out of that space if it is classified as a ‘‘high risk’’ equipment provider. This means Huawei could be limited to operating in a “core network” space that authenticates the mobile users according to The Australian.
Federal MPs such as Labor’s Michael Danby and Andrew Byrne, as well as Liberal MP Andrew Hastie, have recently expressed serious security concerns about allowing Huawei and fellow Chinese technology company ZTE to be involved in the 5G network.
A spokesman for Nokia told Fairfax Media, that Nokia Shanghai Bell a Chinese joint venture was required to abide by all laws and regulations in China. Nokia remains the majority shareholder of its Chinese joint venture.
A spokeswoman for Ericsson said its Chinese joint venture did not have to report to a “grassroots” Communist Party branch. The joint venture did have to abide by China’s domestic laws however.