Canada bans Huawei and ZTE from working on its 5G phone networks.
The country’s industry minister announced the restrictions against Huawei and ZTE on Thursday.
According to Francois-Philippe Champagne, the move will improve Canada’s mobile internet services and “protect Canadians’ safety and security.”
However, Huawei Canada stated that it was “disappointed” by the decision, which it described as “political.”
“This is an unfortunate political decision that has nothing to do with cyber security or any of the technologies at issue,” according to a statement.
Several countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, have already imposed restrictions on the firms.
The four countries, along with Canada, form the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing agreement.
During the Cold War, it evolved as a mechanism for monitoring the Soviet Union and sharing classified information.
The announcement by Canada was widely anticipated, as its allies had already barred Huawei and ZTE from their high-speed networks.
Mr Champagne told reporters in the Canadian capital of Ottawa that the decision came after “a thorough review by our security agencies and consultation with our closest allies.”
“Let me be clear: We will always protect Canadians’ safety and security, and we will take any actions necessary to protect our telecommunications infrastructure,” he added.
“In a 5G world, where we rely more and more on our network in our daily lives, this is the right decision.”
According to a spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in Ottawa, Beijing sees Canada’s security concerns as a “pretext for political manipulation.”
China’s spokesperson also accused Canada of collaborating with the US to suppress Chinese companies.
According to Huawei Canada, its equipment has been “closely scrutinized” by the government and security agencies, and there have been “zero security incidents caused by Huawei equipment.”
“Unfortunately, as a company, we have no control over this decision.
We will, however, do everything possible to protect the legitimate rights and interests of our customers, partners, and ourselves.”
Meanwhile, ZTE stated that the “premise” of the Canadian government’s announcement was “highly speculative.”
“We have always complied with international standards and best practices, opening up our cyber security labs to allow regulators and stakeholders to verify the security of ZTE products,” the company stated.
The fifth-generation, or 5G, of mobile internet networks will provide much faster data download and upload speeds.
It also enables more devices to connect to the internet at the same time.
In November, US President Joe Biden signed legislation prohibiting companies deemed a security risk from receiving new telecoms equipment licenses in the country.
It means that Huawei, ZTE, and three other Chinese companies’ equipment cannot be used in US telecom networks.