Message to Malcolm: Stop embarrassing yourself on Huawei and 5G
Following his appearance on ABC Radio National Breakfast with Fran Kelly this morning Malcolm Turnbull really needs to stop quoting Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo’s talking points on Huawei.
His continued justification for banning Huawei from Australia’s 5G roll-out – the claim that you can’t split the operational core and radio access parts of the network in 5G – is becoming embarrassing because everyone knows this is just technically incorrect.
Huawei is not delivering our core network technology in Europe and yet we are still successfully delivering our 5G radio access technology in the UK, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and many others – so, clearly the core and radio can and ARE being split in 5G.
Even Dr. Ian Levy, Technical Director of the UK National Cyber Security Centre has publicly disagreed with Malcolm Turnbull’s position and two UK parliamentary committees also singled out Australia as the sole believer in this technical fairytale.
An independent report from globally respected telecoms consultancy OMDIA also confirmed this point so the only people still pushing this false argument are Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo and Malcolm Turnbull.
This false narrative started back in February 2018 when it was briefed to Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister of Australia when he was visiting Washington – I know this because I met with the Prime Minister’s Office a couple of weeks after.
The Trump Administration were so transparent in their desire to have Huawei banned in Australia that they leaked the fact that they had asked Turnbull to ban us to the Australian media following his visit in Washington..
Of course, the Americans needed a reason to get the Australians to ban a company from 5G that was already successfully delivering 3G and 4G to over half the country via Optus and Vodafone – so the nonsense about not being able to split the core and radio networks in 5G began.
The fact that Malcolm Turnbull continues to blindly justify his ban of Huawei on these grounds is now getting awkward especially when the global mobile industry standards bodies – filled with the most eminent technical minds on the planet – have clearly defined the split between the core and non-core in 5G.
The sad reality is that Malcolm Turnbull and the Federal Government he led were played by the Americans into believing this false narrative and the consequences have been dire.
The Huawei ban continues to cause such serious problems for Australia is because it was a slap in the face to the Chinese people – not the Chinese Government – but Canberra simply doesn’t understand this.
Huawei was and continues to be a symbol of China’s advancement because it is a global leader in what it does and it has done on its own through innovation and a driven entrepreneurial spirit.
This is why the Huawei decision hit a raw nerve across China and although Australia might want to move on from the 5G ban the Chinese people have not.
To make matters worse Turnbull’s admitted in his book that all his security briefings clearly said Huawei in its 30 year history had never done anything wrong.
So the Chinese people were left with the question, if Huawei a global leader in its field, a successful private company with an unblemished record of achievement isn’t good enough, who can be?
So Australians have once again missed out on getting the chance to have world-class broadband and the failure and mistakes of the NBN are being repeated in 5G.
Malcolm Turnbull is on record as admitting the NBN ban on Huawei allowed Alcatel-Lucent (now Nokia) a monopoly position to “write their own ticket” for their work on the project which helped to increase costs all the way up to $51 billion.
The same is already happening with 5G with the absence of Huawei leaving a duopoly of European vendors in place that reduced competition and has resulted in Telstra already raising 5G prices by up to $15 per month for its millions of mobile customers.
Compared to the rest of the world Australians are again paying more for their broadband, fewer people will have access to high-speed broadband and it won’t be the best technology available.
The Huawei 5G ban will have a large and long lasting impact on the Australian telecommunications landscape and the true losers will be Australian consumers – especially those in rural and regional areas – who will be left with a second rate broadband experience.
Jeremy Mitchell is Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at Huawei Australia.