Last week the surprise arrest of Huawei’s chief financial officer in Vancouver, BC—at the request of the United States—has set off an international firestorm of diplomatic relations between the countries.
China has warned Canada of ‘serious consequences’ for its role in CFO Meng Wanzhou—and daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei—at the Vancouver International Airport. She was in transit on a flight to Mexico. Huawei has been accused of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran, by using a Hong Kong shell company to do business dealings for network equipment.
The distrust of Huawei relates to company founder Zhengfei and his history in China’s People’s Liberation Army, and his role as engineer in the country’s Communist Party.
Now, former Prime Minister Stephen Harper—in an interview with FOX News—is harping out against Huawei, urging Canada to remove the company’s ties to our 5G networks.
“I obviously note that the United States is encouraging western allies to essentially push Huawei out of the emerging 5G network and my personal view is that that is something western countries should be doing in terms of our own long-term security issues,” Harper told FOX News, according to Global News.
Harper refused to comment on the recent arrest of Huawei’s CFO, only to acknowledge the alleged ties the company—and its subsidiary ZTE—have with Chinese security, saying “we think there are some real serious issues there.”
Canada’s Trudeau government, a member of the Five Eyes Intelligence community, has refused to ban Huawei 5G equipment, unlike fellow members Australia, New Zealand and the United States.
Fellow member the United Kingdom saw company BT last week announced it was removing Huawei equipment from current 3G and 4G networks, while also skipping the company’s 5G hardware as well.
The Canadian government is undergoing a review of whether Huawei poses a risk.
Canada’s Big 3 Carriers Still Working with Huawei; Removing 5G to Be Costly
Rogers told The Logic it is still working with Huawei as a sponsor of Hockey Night in Canada. Rogers partnered with Ericsson for its 5G network plans.
Telus partnered with Huawei and recently conducted 5G trials, while Bell works with Nokia and Huawei for 5G.
Shaw’s Freedom Mobile is using Nokia equipment for its 5G plans and did not confirm whether it used Huawei equipment.
SaskTel told The Logic it uses Huawei equipment for a portion of its 4G network, while Ice Wireless in north uses Huawei hardware for its 3G and wireless broadband network.
“We have seen no reason—based on our internal security audits—to believe the media reports out there about Huawei,” said Samer Bishay, CEO of Ice Wireless, to The Logic.
As for the cost of Canada’s wireless carriers to remove Huawei’s equipment from its networks? According to the Globe and Mail, it could exceed $1 billion dollars, according to unnamed telecom executives. The cost to rip out Huawei is said to be $500 million to $1 billion for Telus, while for Bell it would be hundreds of millions of dollars. The total cost for both companies to remove Huawei gear was pegged at over $1 billion dollars, with tens of thousands of antennas removed in the process.
As for Huawei CFO Wangzhou, she spent the weekend in a Vancouver jail, as her Friday bail decision did not conclude, and is set to resume on Monday.
What do you think? Should Canada’s ban Huawei 5G equipment like its allies?