Canada Bans China's Huawei From 5G Wireless Networks

Canada’s federal government in Ottawa is banning China’s Huawei Technologies from
participating in the country’s fifth generation (5G) wireless networks.

The Chinese telecommunications firm is being banned because it poses a threat to Canada’s
national security, said government officials. China’s ZTE Corp., which makes wireless
equipment, is also being banned.

Firms that already have Huawei or ZTE gear installed will have to remove it by the end of 2027,
according to a government statement. Ottawa had delayed the decision for more than three
years, as relations between Canada and China deteriorated, and a ban would almost certainly
stoke tensions.

The long-awaited announcement will be welcome news to U.S. President Joe Biden’s
administration, which has sought to steer countries away from Huawei. American officials allege
its gear could allow the Chinese government to interfere with 5G networks. Since 2019, the U.S.
has imposed what may be the strongest sanctions it has ever placed on a single company.

Relations between Canada and China soured after Canada’s arrest of Huawei Chief Financial
Officer Meng Wanzhou on a U.S. extradition request in December 2018. China imprisoned two
Canadians, former diplomat Michael Spavor and entrepreneur Michael Kovrig, within days of
Meng’s arrest.

The high-stakes standoff was resolved last September after the U.S. struck a deferred-
prosecution deal with Meng, allowing her to return to China and for the two Canadians to be
released.

But the feud has left hard feelings. The Huawei ban comes only three days after lawmakers
voted to revive a special committee to study Canada’s ties with China. Earlier this week, Ottawa
announced that China had lifted restrictions on Canadian canola imports.

Huawei long played a key role in Canadian wireless networks. It won its first major North
American project from BCE and Telus in 2008, a pivotal contract that helped cement the
Chinese provider’s reputation as a global technology player.

Fifth generation wireless technology could end up being 100 times faster than existing top-of-
the-line networks, with data speeds reaching 10 gigabits per second. That would greatly
improve the ability of consumers to stream high-definition videos and help build out the so-
called “internet of things” (IoT) that can link everything from household appliances to traffic
lights.

Last July, Canada’s telecom firms paid $8.9 billion to buy licenses for 5G spectrum airwaves in
a record-smashing government-led auction.