The Government saw significant security risks, forcing the MNO to halt its deployment plan.
Background: Spark had informed the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), as required by the country’s Telecoms Act (TICSA), of its plans to implement 5G technology on its mobile network. This involved deployment of Huawei 5G equipment in Spark’s 5G Radio Access Network (RAN).
What’s new? The GCSB has now informed Spark that it found “significant network security risk”. As a result, Spark cannot go ahead with its plan to use Huawei equipment for its 5G network, but it remains confident it will be able to launch 5G by 1 July 2020. Huawei announced it aims to meet New Zealand government officials to find a way forward.
Why does it matter? Huawei, and Chinese vendors in general, have faced tough times in recent months as cyber security concerns have pushed governments to introduce restrictions on network equipment coming from China. Earlier this month, the Managing Director of Huawei New Zealand said they would not take part in the bidding process to build core 5G networks in the country. The Australian government enforced a ban on Huawei in August 2018, and there is ongoing conflict between US and Chinese authorities on the matter. The UK government issued a report in July 2018, stating it has "only limited assurance" that Huawei kit poses no threat to national security; however, it has not issued an outright ban.