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New Concerns Over Telstra Relationship With Banned Chinese Telco Supplier

The relationship of Telstra with questionable Chinese Companies is again being questioned, after it was revealed that the national carrier has a business relationship with China Unicom Australia, a 100% owned subsidiary of China Unicom an organisation that was banned last week in the USA because of “significant” national security and espionage concerns.

Back in March 2020 it was announced that Telstra was “collaborating” with China Unicom, KT, and Telefonica to Co-Develop an Edge Computing Platform.

During the weekend, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said it had voted unanimously to revoke authorisation for the company to operate in the US.

The questionable Chinese firm must stop providing telecoms services in the US market within 60 days.

At this stage it’s not known whether any Australian security agency has raised concerns with Telstra over their relationship with China Unicom.

US FCC chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said: “There has been mounting evidence – and with it, a growing concern – those Chinese state-owned carriers pose a real threat to the security of our telecommunications networks.”

China Unicom Australia describe themselves as a comprehensive ICT service provider based in Sydney, providing service to clients across Oceania.

China Unicom (Australia) Operations Pty Ltd is a Sydney-based, wholly owned subsidiary of China Unicom.

On February 27th, 2021, nine European and Asia-Pacific telcos (China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, EE, KDDI, Orange, Singtel, SK Telecom, Telefonica, and TIM) announced collaboration to co-develop an interoperable edge computing platform with the support of the GSMA through its Operator Platform Project.

A week after the announcement, Telstra signed an MoU to join China Unicom, KT, and Telefonica in the initiative.

The initial phase of the collaboration focused on the development of edge computing capabilities and platform interoperability across different networks and geographies.

The next stage will include the development mobility operations across borders claimed China Unicom at the time.

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