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International relations

NZ govt agency rejects Spark's plan to use Huawei 5G equipment

A government agency rejected Spark New Zealand's proposal to use 5G equipment of China's Huawei Technologies Co Ltd in its planned network citing significant national security risks, the telco said on Wednesday.

The decision by New Zealand's Director-General of the Government Communications Security Bureau comes months after Australia banned the Chinese firm for the same reason. It comes at a time when Western countries are increasingly worried about the rising influence of Chinese companies in the Asia Pacific region.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. government is trying to persuade wireless and internet providers in allied countries to avoid telecommunications equipment from China's Huawei Technologies.

Huawei did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Earlier this year, neighbouring Australia banned Huawei from supplying equipment for a 5G mobile network citing national security risks.

Australia expanded its national security rules in August to exclude telecommunication equipment suppliers that it believes have ties to foreign governments.

The New Zealand bureau's decision means that Spark cannot implement or give effect to its proposal to use Huawei equipment in its planned 5G network, the company said in a statement.

However, Spark said it remains confident the decision will not affect its plans to launch 5G network by July 1, 2020.

(Reuters)

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