Canada has finally banned Chinese companies from using its 4G and 5G networks

Canada has finally banned Chinese companies from using its 4G and 5G networks, Canada is the final member of the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence partnership to explicitly prohibit Chinese suppliers from operating on its mobile networks.

The Canadian government made the announcement in a policy statement titled “Securing Canada’s Telecommunications System.” “The Government of Canada has serious concerns about suppliers like Huawei and ZTE being forced to comply with extrajudicial directions from foreign governments in ways that would conflict with Canadian laws or be detrimental to Canadian interests,” the statement said, setting the stage for the decision.

The statement went on to say that “Canada’s closest friends share the same concerns about these two suppliers,” which is telling. They do, and have done for years. If this action was motivated by a desire to match Canada’s telecoms vendor policy with that of its friends (the most obvious of whom are the United States, the United Kingdom, and the rest of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance), one has to ask why it took so long. Canada has finally banned Chinese companies from using its 4G and 5G networks

Canada’s limits are extensive, maybe to make up for lost time. The complete list can be found below.

Existing 5G equipment and managed services must be withdrawn or terminated by June 28, 2024, and new 5G equipment and managed services from Huawei and ZTE will be barred.

Any new Huawei and ZTE 4G equipment and managed services will be forbidden, and any existing Huawei and ZTE 4G equipment and managed services will have to be withdrawn or terminated by December 31, 2027.

Telecommunications service providers are expected to stop buying new 4G or 5G equipment and services by September 1, 2022, according to the government.

The government also plans to limit the use of GPON (Gigabit Passive Optical Network) equipment in fiber-optic networks.

During these transition periods, telecommunications service providers who use this equipment and managed services would be expected to comply with any government-imposed assurance standards, based on the Security Review Program of the Communications Security Establishment.

Neither statement mentions compensation for Canadian telecoms, but the Associated Press says that they will not receive any financial assistance from their government. This contrasts sharply with the United States, which is willing to spend billions on compensation. While it was inevitable that Canada would make this step, the severity of it must have come as a surprise to the sector.

Also worth noting is the US’s apparent lack of pressure on Canada, especially in comparison to the UK’s attitude. The US government tossed its toys out the pram when the UK proposed a more mild set of penalties in early 2020. As a result, the United Kingdom eventually confirmed, but there has been little evidence of similar pressure being used on Canada. Perhaps the US believed it had expended all of its political capital in attempting to extradite Huawei’s CFO.

Huawei has yet to respond to our request for comment as of the time of writing. It’s easy to believe the corporation is neither delighted nor surprised, but we’ve moved on from 2020’s hostile rhetoric. “China threatens ‘all necessary steps’ following Ottawa moves to ban 5G technology from Huawei and ZTE,” according to the Chinese state-controlled Global Times. Canada has finally banned Chinese companies from using its 4G and 5G networks.

Aside from reminding us how much longer it took Canada to do what the US requested it to do than the rest of the Five Eyes alliance, this story appears to show that ties between China and the US ecosystem are still as icy as they’ve always been. The Ukraine crisis has dominated geopolitics this year, but the China situation has stayed on the back burner, and the DE globalization megatrend shows no signs of stopping.

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