Canada has announced that two of China’s largest telecommunications equipment manufacturers would be prohibited from operating on its 5G phone networks.
The country’s industry minister announced the restrictions against Huawei and ZTE on Thursday.
According to Francois-Philippe Champagne, the measure would improve Canada’s mobile internet services while also “protecting Canadians’ safety and security.”
Huawei Canada, on the other hand, said it was “disappointed” by the decision, which is called “political.”
“This is a sad political choice that has nothing to do with cyber security or any of the technology at issue,” according to a statement.
Several countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, have already imposed limitations on corporations.
The four countries, together with Canada, form the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing agreement. During the Cold War, it emerged as a tool for monitoring the Soviet Union and transmitting sensitive intelligence.
The statement by Canada was widely anticipated since its partners had previously excluded Huawei and ZTE from their high-speed networks.
Mr Champagne told reporters in Ottawa, Canada’s capital, that the decision was reached after “a thorough evaluation by our security services and dialogue with our closest partners.”
“Let me be clear: We will always defend the safety and security of Canadians, and we will take all steps required to secure our telecommunication infrastructure,” he continued.
“This is the proper decision in a 5G future, at a time when we rely more and more in our everyday lives [on] our network.”
Beijing regards the security concerns expressed by Canada as a “pretext for political manipulation,” according to a spokeswoman for the Chinese embassy in Ottawa.
China’s representative also accused Canada of collaborating with the US to repress Chinese businesses.
BBC inquiries for comment were not immediately returned by the Chinese embassy in Ottawa.
Huawei Canada stated the government and security agencies had “closely scrutinized” its equipment and that “zero security issues caused by Huawei equipment” had occurred.
“Banning Huawei’s equipment and services will result in severe economic losses in Canada and will raise the cost of communications for Canadian customers,” according to a statement.
“Unfortunately, as a company, we have no influence over this choice. However, we will do all in our power to preserve our customers’, partners’, and own lawful rights and interests.”
Meanwhile, ZTE has dismissed the Canadian government’s announcement’s “basis,” calling it “extremely speculative.”
“We have always followed international standards and best practices, opening our cyber security laboratories to allow authorities and stakeholders to verify the security of ZTE devices,” the company stated.
The fifth-generation, or 5G, of mobile internet networks, offers much higher data download and upload rates.
It also lets more devices connect to the internet at the same time.
It comes at a time when data use is on the rise, thanks to the growing popularity of video and music streaming. Governments and cell phone network providers are being pushed to strengthen their telecommunications infrastructures as a result of this.
Following the Canadian government’s decision, telecommunications companies in the nation will no longer be permitted to employ Huawei and ZTE equipment.
Companies that have already installed Chinese-made equipment must immediately remove it, according to Mr Champagne.
In September 2018, Canada announced an examination of Huawei equipment.
Governments in the United States and other Western countries have targeted some of China’s largest technology and telecom corporations in recent years due to national security concerns.
President Joe Biden of the United States approved legislation in November prohibiting corporations deemed to be security concerns from acquiring new telecommunications equipment licenses in the country.
It means Huawei, ZTE, and three other Chinese companies’ equipment can’t be used in US telecom networks.