Following a ban on the use of Chinese telecoms equipment by government agencies in Japan, the country’s mobile operators said they have no plans to deploy gear from Huawei and ZTE in their 5G networks, Nikkei Asian Review reported.
The move is a major blow to Huawei, which has been running 5G trials with SoftBank and NTT Docomo, following similar bans in Australia, New Zealand and the US due to security concerns. The US has long pushed its allies to avoid using China-made gear in their telecoms networks over perceived concerns about intelligence leaks and cyber attacks.
Japan on Monday (10 December) passed new procurement regulations barring Chinese vendors from bidding for government contacts.
The newspaper quoted Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe as saying: “It’s extremely important to avoid buying equipment that includes malicious functions like stealing or destroying information or halting information systems.”
In late August officials responsible for cybersecurity in the Japanese government’s Cabinet Office reportedly were conducting a study to determine if additional regulations are needed to reduce security risks from using network equipment from Chinese companies.
SoftBank is the only major player in Japan to use Huawei and ZTE equipment in its 4G network and conducted 5G trials with both vendors, Nikkei Asian Review said.
Docomo conducted 5G backhaul tests with Huawei in May but will not use the company’s 5G gear due “partly to technical hurdles”, the newspaper reported. KDDI doesn’t use kit from Chinese companies in its 4G network and will continue to steer clear.
Meanwhile Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten, which plans to launch mobile service in October 2019, said it would use Nokia kit for its 4G network, the newspaper stated.
The country’s three major mobile operators are working toward launching limited commercial 5G services in 2019, with pilots scheduled to take place during the Rugby World Cup. Representatives from Docomo, KDDI and SoftBank told a government hearing last month full 5G services for smartphones would commence in 2020.Subscribe to our daily newsletter