2 Nov 2018

Spark backs Chinese giant tech firms to aid NZ networks

3:08 pm on 2 November 2018

Telecommunications company Spark is advising the government not to ban Chinese involvement in new generation mobile networks on security grounds.

Spark New Zealand

Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

Australia has blocked Chinese giant equipment makers, Huawei and ZTE, from building or supplying parts for key infrastructure projects, including mobile networks and power grids, citing security concerns.

Spark managing director Simon Moutter told the company's annual meeting it was happy to consider Huawei as a potential supplier.

"We would hope that our government would not preclude them [Huawei] from being considered without incontrovertible evidence their technology presents security risks that the comprehensive security management tools we employ in our networks cannot mitigate," he said.

"Although we have yet to make decisions on our 5G technology partners, based on their track record with us, we see no reason why Huawei should not be among the vendors we consider inviting to the process."

Spark has partnered with Huawei on its previous 3G and 4G networks. It provided the mobile signal transmitting technology at Spark's Radio Access Network.

Mr Moutter emphasised the need for the government to decide on its 5G policy to allow for the allocation of spectrum that the network requires.

"I can't stress this enough. The policy settings created by government are fundamental to the performance of our sector and to the transformative impacts it can have on New Zealand's social and economic progress."

He said overlaying Spark's current networks with 5G would provide more capacity for increasing data demand, and would drop the price of data.