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Canada has announced that two of China’s largest telecoms equipment manufacturers will be prohibited from working 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 move will improve Canada’s mobile internet services while also “protecting Canadians’ safety and security.”
Several countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, have already imposed limitations on the companies. The four countries, along with Canada, make up the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence-sharing agreement. It began as a means for monitoring the Soviet Union and sharing sensitive information during the Cold War.
Canada’s announcement came as no surprise, given that its partners had already excluded Huawei and ZTE from their own 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 protect the safety and security of Canadians, and we will take all steps required to protect our telecommunication infrastructure,” he continued.
“This is the proper decision in a 5G world, at a time when we rely more and more in our daily 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.
The fifth generation, or 5G, of mobile internet networks offers significantly higher data download and upload speeds. It also allows more devices to connect to the internet at the same time.
It comes at a time when data usage is on the rise, thanks to the growing popularity of video and music streaming. Governments and cell phone network operators are being pushed to strengthen their telecommunications infrastructures as a result of this.
Following the Canadian government’s decision, telecoms companies in the nation will no longer be permitted to employ Huawei and ZTE equipment.
Companies that have already installed Chinese-made equipment must now remove it, according to Mr Champagne.
In September 2018, Canada announced a review of Huawei equipment.
Governments in the United States and other Western countries have targeted some of China’s largest technology and telecoms corporations in recent years due to national security concerns.
President Joe Biden of the United States signed legislation in November prohibiting corporations deemed to be security concerns from acquiring new telecoms equipment licenses in the country.
It means Huawei, ZTE, and three other Chinese companies’ equipment can’t be used in US telecom networks.
Opinions expressed by California Gazette contributors are their own.