Government of Canada

Canada bans Huawei and ZTE from 5G networks

Canada citing national security risks

The Canadian government has banned the use of Huawei and ZTE tech in its 5G networks, as part of a new telecommunications security framework.

Companies using equipment or managed services from the two Chinese companies have until 28 June 2024 to stop operating or remove the equipment.

Canada has already excluded the two Chinese companies from “sensitive areas” of Canadian 3G, 4G and LTE networks. But by the end of 2027, all Telecom companies must remove or terminate any ZTE or Huawei existing 4G equipment and managed services. By September 1, 2022, companies will have to stop buying 4G and 5G equipment from the two Chinese companies.

Canada said in the future it intends to impose restrictions on Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) equipment used in fibre-optic networks and its security review program will “expand to consider risks from all key suppliers.”

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The decision to ban Huawei and ZTE came after extensive examination of 5G wireless technology and its implementation.

The Government stated:

The Government of Canada has conducted an extensive examination of 5G wireless technology and the various technical, economic and national security aspects of 5G implementation. The examination made clear that while this technology will bring significant benefits and economic opportunities, the technology will also introduce new security concerns that malicious actors could exploit. In 5G systems, sensitive functions will become increasingly decentralized and virtualized in order to reduce latency, and the number of devices they will connect will also grow exponentially.

The Government of Canada has serious concerns about suppliers such as Huawei and ZTE who could be compelled to comply with extrajudicial directions from foreign governments in ways that would conflict with Canadian laws or would be detrimental to Canadian interests.

It also said it had serious concerns about suppliers who “could be compelled to comply with extrajudicial directions from foreign governments in ways that would conflict with Canadian laws or would be detrimental to Canadian interests.”

The government cited its allies as having similar concerns. Canada is a member of the Five Eyes network alongside the United States, the UK, Australia and New Zealand. All four other nations have banned the equipment already.

Canada’s closest allies share the similar concerns about these two suppliers. Given the potential cascading economic and security impacts a telecommunications supply chain breach could cause, allies have taken actions to enable them to prohibit the deployment of Huawei and ZTE products and services in their 5G telecommunications networks.

Like our allies, Canada believes that evolving international supply chain dynamics have further implications due to growing restrictions on access to certain components. Shifts from well-known inputs to others have implications for Canada’s ability to conduct assurance testing. This changing supply chain environment toward other components will make it increasingly difficult for Canada to maintain a high level of assurance testing for certain network equipment from a number of potential suppliers.

Huawei has long insisted that its products are secure, that it will observe the laws of nations in which it does business, and dismised concerns about Beijing’s ability to influence the company.