Canada to ban China’s Huawei and ZTE from its 5G networks

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Canada says it will ban two of China’s biggest telecoms equipment makers from working on its 5G phone networks.

The restrictions against Huawei and ZTE were announced by the country’s industry minister on Thursday.

Francois-Philippe Champagne says the move will improve Canada’s mobile internet services and “protect the safety and security of Canadians”.

Several nations – including the UK, US, Australia and New Zealand – have already put restrictions on the firms.

The four countries, along with Canada, make up an intelligence-sharing arrangement named ‘Five Eyes’. It evolved during the Cold War as a mechanism for monitoring the Soviet Union and sharing classified information.

Canada’s announcement was widely expected, as its allies had already barred Huawei and ZTE from their own high-speed networks.

Speaking to reporters in the Canadian capital of Ottawa, Mr Champagne said: “This is about providing a framework to protect our infrastructure. In a 5G world, at a time where we rely more and more in our daily lives [on] our network, this is the right decision.”

The Chinese embassy in Ottawa, Huawei and ZTE did not immediately respond to BBC requests for comment.

5G, or fifth generation, is the next upgrade to mobile internet networks, offering much faster data download and upload speeds.

It also allows more devices to simultaneously access the internet.

It comes as data usage is soaring, as the popularity of video and music streaming grows. This is pushing governments and mobile phone network operators to improve their telecommunications infrastructures.

The Canadian government’s decision means that telecoms firms in country will no longer be allowed to use equipment made by Huawei and ZTE.

Companies that have already installed the equipment made by the Chinese manufacturers must now remove it, Mr Champagne said.

Canada first announced a review of Huawei equipment in September 2018.

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