back to article Australia blocks Huawei, ZTE from 5G rollout

Five Eyes member Australia has banned Huawei and ZTE from participating in the coming rollout of 5G mobile networks – without naming the companies. Huawei has long been blocked from supplying network hardware for the country's National Broadband Network (a fixed line network), but telecommunications carriers like Telstra, …

  1. Phil Kingston

    I'd be as concerned about what influence the US government has over Cisco, Juniper, HP et al.

    The Huawei-bashing does seem a little bit of a trend these days. Excluding a vendor for something that might happen in the future, with no evidence of past wrongdoings, seems harsh. A thought I'm sure will earn me a downvote or two.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hell, it's my government and I certainly don't trust them. As someone in comments on an article about Cisco pointed out, they really need to find the people putting back doors in Cisco equipment. [Not saying that's really the case, but the repeated litany of the same vulnerability types in Cisco gear, year after year, either says they are totally clueless about remediation prior to release onto the market or a concerted effort to keep some backdoors in their gear.]

      The NSA, after all, does have form here in sabotaging encryption standards, intercepting equipment prior to receipt by the customer for tailored access operations, yada yada.

      1. CFtheNonPartisan

        Back in the 1980's I knew some Americans who made sure exported US equipment was 'suitably equipped' for the destination market. All had very high security clearances and 'special talents'. The company they worked for has long since been assimilated by a large defence company. Then there was also CoCom that kept American technology in and sometimes better foreign technology out, of the US. I presume that work continues under new generations and descriptions. But look over there at China and Huawei, scary, eh? All the way with the USA? Argh!

  2. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Huawei does have some espionage in their history and Chinese phones usually do contain questionable features. The now-dead ZTE Axon 7 has "MFVKeyguard" that's completely hidden from ZTE's apps and permissions lists. Chinese phones always come with a "Weather" app that wants to track your location even when you're not using it. It would be no shock if cell tower hardware came with extra services or "accidental" vulnerabilities.

    Likewise, don't buy cell tower hardware made by Google, Amazon, Microsoft, or Apple.

    1. Denarius Silver badge

      Weather: dont they all ?

      My ZTE never did had a weather app. Which reminds me, how are the Android alternatives developing these days ? About time something that worked on a given CPU or SOC was available. Most of my hardware seems to be not on any list even though it is not uncommon. I know, this does not address firmware back doors, but it is a start.

  3. Oengus Silver badge

    Five Eyes

    The pair cited concern that Huawei would be subject to Chinese government influence, which would put Australia's national security at risk.

    So we will only have hardware from manufacturers that we can assert influence over through the five eyes partnership so we can invisibly control and track our population and put their personal freedoms at risk.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Five Eyes

      ... so we can ban kit from "dodgy" regimes[1], but now it becomes clear why Nokia had to die.

      [1] Like, um, Apple - made in China. But (also) under US law, so that's OK.

      1. Kernel

        Re: Five Eyes

        "... so we can ban kit from "dodgy" regimes[1], but now it becomes clear why Nokia had to die."

        Nokia is dead??? - bugger!, does that mean I'm not getting paid this month?

  4. Joe W Silver badge


    ... and meanwhile, outside the bigger cities you don't have cell phone coverage with most carriers now. Great idea to roll out a network that requires even more infrastructure to be deployed.

    (same in other countries, I guess)

  5. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921 Bronze badge

    I'm not looking forward to being shot by 5g signals by multiple radio masts, it amounts to being zapped momentarily and repeatedly fried by microwave lasers targeting the phone you or anyone near you is carrying. Mine's the tin foil hat, hooddie and body suit.

    1. johnfbw


      How do you remember you user name?

      1. onefang

        Re: 89724102172714182892114I755167034974309673434677347864...

        If you have been paying attention, that really long number changes sometimes, even though the puerile Uranus jokes don't. So I don't think it ever remembers their "name". It could just be some web forum equivalent of a numbers radio station.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 89724102172714182892114I75516703497430967343467734786478923

        Since we are talking about long strings on a thread about Chinese mobile phones I figured I might as well drop a string as well:


        The SHA256 sum of a nasty little system app found on a brand new Chinese mobile a few days ago

        (Not a ZTE device)

  6. Trollslayer Silver badge

    Good idea

    I learned a few weeks ago form someone involved in aircraft satellite comms that now in China the comms needs to be routed via their ground stations while in Chinese airspace.

    1. James O'Shea

      Re: Good idea

      "I learned a few weeks ago form someone involved in aircraft satellite comms that now in China the comms needs to be routed via their ground stations while in Chinese airspace."

      ummm... how are they enforcing this? If it's a satcom, and the antennas and all the other hardware on the aircraft or in orbit, then the aircraft can transmit without anyone on the ground even knowing. People on the ground would be able to receive the signal but would have no idea which, if any, of the aircraft in the sat signal's footprint is the intended recipient, especially if the signal was encrypted. A LEO satcom would have a footprint big enough to cover all of China plus some adjacent countries (northern Vietnam, Japan, the Koreas, Mongolia, parts of Russia, Nepal, Bhutan, parts of India...) and a MEO would cover most of east Asia. A GEO would cover just less than half the planet...

      Never mind enforcing. How would they _detect_ this?

  7. plrndl
    Big Brother

    5 Ears?

    I strongly suspect the the real reason is the absence of back doors in Chinese equipment.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      An interesting suspicion, to be sure. Sounds like a plausible one to me.

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: 5 Ears?

      Really? I'm not saying that equipment made in countries with large surveillance systems is free from backdoors, but we're talking China here. They have spyware on pretty much everything, but they just won't have it on something big and important? That doesn't make sense to me. If you do want to go full conspiracy theory, it wouldn't matter if the Chinese equipment did in fact have no back doors, because the Australian companies would be going to configure and program it. If a surveillance system needs to be built, that could be done no matter what it runs on.

  8. onefang

    "the country's National Broadband Network (a fixed line network)"

    Except for those parts that are fixed wireless, and the satellite bits, but really considering the dogs breakfast that has been made of the Aussie nbn, I don't think "fixed" is an appropriate word to use for any of it. So that part of the article should be corrected to read -

    "the country's National Broadband Network (a broken network)"

    1. Sampler

      You mean it's not national broken network?

  9. grod

    "The government is currently in turmoil"

    How dare you! It's been stable for the last half hour or so at least!

  10. Black Betty

    Anyone spot the hypocrisy?

    Banning these two companies on the suspicion that they might be providing backdoor access to a foreign power at the same time that they are demanding all tech companies provide exactly that access to the AU govt. itself.

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