Mandatory disclosures and trigger warnings:
- TAFKAS does not and has never worked for a telecommunications company
- TAFKAS does not and has never worked for a national security or law enforcement agency
- TAFKAS does not and has never worked for Huawei
- TAFKAS is not an engineer (telecommunications or otherwise)
Ok. So it seems that the national security agencies of the Five Eyes countries are seeking to prevent Huawei from being a key supplier of 5G telecommunications infrastructure; on the grounds of national security.
Putting aside security matters for the moment, in Australia, a well functioning high speed cellular network is serious economic threat to the NBN. In fact, prior NBN management has even proposed that a special tax/levy may be required to ensure that NBN remains competitive with high speed cellular broadband. Former NBN CEO Bill Morrow has “floated the idea of a levy on mobile broadband services“.
Huawei appears to be the best value, lowest cost provider of 5G infrastructure. Ruling Huawei out as a supplier will, everything else equal, increase the cost of 5G services. Thus, on the margin, 5G economic competitiveness relative to NBN will be diminished.
TAFKAS believes that the Vodafone Australia network (or at least a large part of it) is provided by Huawei and TAFKAS does not recall any particular national security issues being raised about this or any suggestions that it be decommissioned.
If this is correct (Voda AU + Huawei), and not wanting to engage in rank cynicism, then it might appear that the strong security concerns around Huawei perhaps are not about the company but rather their 5G offering?
Is it possible, could it be that the Huawei issue is not about national security but about the competitiveness of incumbent fixed internet providers. Or at least partly about their competitiveness? Could the forced deployment of more expensive 5G infrastructure be an NBN Competitiveness Levy in a different form?
In the other Five Eyes countries, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that the incumbent, well resourced fixed internet providers are also seeking a marginal competitive bump by forcing the providers of competitive 5G providers to sink in additional capital to fund their businesses, and thus impact their pricing and market dynamics.
TAFKAS has no special information or insights into this, but it seems all too neat and convenient.