Popular Smartphone Manufacturer Now Banned From Selling Its Phones?

Huawei and ZTE, are banned from operating in one country for reasons that threaten national security.

By Charlene Badasie | Published

This article is more than 2 years old


Chinese telecommunications giants Huawei and ZTE will be banned from Canada’s high-speed 5G networks in the near future. The country’s government made the announcement on Thursday citing security concerns. The widely expected decision had been delayed amid diplomatic tensions with China, CNN Business reports. The rest of the intelligence-sharing Five Eyes network, which consists of Canada, the United States, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand, has already banned the questionable equipment.

Speaking about the decision to reporters in Ottowa, Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said, “We intend to exclude Huawei and ZTE from our 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.” The minister added that companies will have until June 2024 to remove their 5G gear and would not be reimbursed. Companies using the 4G equipment must have it removed by the end of 2027.

Canada first announced it would review the possible threats to national security in adopting Huawei equipment in September 2018. Later that year, the tech company’s Chief Financial Officer was arrested in Canada on a warrant from the U.S. This created a long-running dispute with China that finally ended with the CFO’s release last September. Since then, diplomatic tensions between the countries have eased somewhat, with China removing a three-year restriction on imports of Canadian canola seed.

However, not everyone is happy with the decision to ban the Chinese technology. Huawei Canada said was disappointed by the decision, which it claims was political. “This is an unfortunate political decision that has nothing to do with cyber security or any of the technologies in question,” the company said in a statement to BBC News. They added that the equipment had been closely scrutinized by the government and security agencies. And there had been zero security incidents.

Huawei Canada also said that banning the equipment and services would lead to significant economic loss in the country, and drive up the cost of communications for local consumers. Addressing customers’ concerns, the company said the decision is beyond their control as a business. But they plan to do right by their customers where possible. “We will do everything in our capacity to protect the legitimate rights and interests of our customers, partners, and ourselves,” the statement continued.

In recent years, some of China’s biggest technology and telecom companies have been targeted by the United States government and other Western nations over national security concerns. President Biden signed legislation in November that stops companies deemed to be security threats from receiving new telecom equipment licenses in the country. That means equipment from Huawei, ZTE, and three other Chinese companies are banned from use in the American telecoms networks.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in Ottawa told Reuters (via BBC News) that Beijing sees the security concerns raised by Canada over Huawei technology as a pretext for political manipulation. The spokesperson also accused Canada of working with the United States to suppress Chinese companies. However, the Chinese embassy in Ottawa did not immediately respond to requests for comments by various media outlets.