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Huawei says it was banned from 5G in Australia after incorrect technical advice

A new independent report from global telecoms consultant Ovum says the Turnbull Government based their decision to ban Huawei from the Australian 5G network rollout on incorrect technical information.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced on August 23, 2018 that Huawei and some other foreign vendors would not be allowed to deliver 5G in Australia.

This decision was made literally hours before Turnbull was ousted as Prime Minister and replaced by Scott Morrison.

Turnbull was under the impression that the Core and Radio Access Networks (RAN) could not be separated in 5G mobile network deployments.

The Core network encrypts data, user authentication and traffic across the network while the RAN is simply responsible for transmitting those encrypted data packets to handsets and modems.

In the Ovum: The Facts on 5G report it found that not only can Core and RAN be separated but that it has already been achieved on several 5G network deployments around the globe.

This report follows the recent findings from the UK Parliamentary Committee on Science and Technology which concluded: ““Although the Australian Government has concluded that the distinction between ‘Core’ and ‘Non-Core’ networks will be less clear than for previous technology generations, we heard unanimously and clearly that a distinction between the ‘Core’ and ‘Non-Core’ parts will still exist.”

The UK Parliamentary Committee on Science and Technology said there was no reason why Huawei should be banned from supplying 5G technology in the UK.

“The Core/RAN distinction is maintained in 5G. The basic security architecture of mobile communications, including Core/RAN separation, does not change in 5G,” says David Kennedy, Ovum Practice Leader, Asia Pacific.

“One powerful reason why Core/RAN separation has been maintained in 5G standards is to allow operators to integrate RAN from one vendor with core from another vendor.

“Globally, 26 commercial 5G network had been launched as of July 2019. Of those 26, a significant majority (17) were using Huawei RAN equipment, though not necessarily exclusively.

“However, the number using Huawei’s core network was only around half of this (9). The remainder had successfully integrated Huawei RAN with other vendors’ core technology.

“For example, In the United Kingdom, Vodafone and EE have announced they will use Huawei 5G RAN with other vendor’s core networks.”

Huawei is already the largest 4G vendor in the Australian market with more than half of all Australians receiving their mobile communications via Huawei’s technology.

“This report underlines once again the importance of ensuring constant dialogue between operators, vendors and governments around these 5G security issues,” says Huawei chief security officer Andy Purdy.

“We are now seeing operators around the world deploying 5G with different vendors for the Core and RAN networks – this actually helps deliver a more secure network.

“Huawei is working with operators and regulators around the world – including our ongoing extensive work with the European Union – to deliver 5G in a safe and secure manner and is ready to talk with the Australian Government at any time.”