China's Huawei urges Australia not to discriminate on telco security
CANBERRA (Reuters) - China's Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, which was banned from tendering for work on Australia's national broadband network, urged Australia not to discriminate against foreign communications companies.
Huawei, the world's largest telecoms company, is struggling to win business in the United States and other markets due to security concerns. Last year it was blocked from participating in Australia's $38 billion broadband network (NBN).
Though Huawei sells telecoms equipment to major carriers in Asia, Africa and Europe, competing with Nokia Siemens Networks GmbH, Alcatel Lucent and compatriot ZTE, most of its corporate clients are in China.
"With the NBN decision, I was summoned to the Attorney-General's at short notice," Huawei Technologies Australia chairman John Lord told an Australian parliamentary intelligence committee in Canberra. "We were disappointed. We were not given the reasons for the decision."
When Australia's decision was made public in March, the Australian Financial Review said Huawei was seeking to secure a supply contract worth up to A$1 billion ($1.04 billion) with NBN. The company made net profit of $1.8 billion in 2011.
Lord said while he accepted the right of governments to protect critical infrastructure, Huawei had been given no reasons for being blocked from the broadband project and had not been given a chance to respond to any concerns.
The committee is examining planned laws to streamline approvals for law enforcement agencies to tap phones and computers, and to force internet and telecommunications companies to store data for two years.
In its submission to the committee, Huawei said it was worried the new laws could discriminate against companies from a particular country, with no benefit to improving communications security.
"We believe the principle of non-discrimination should be clearly set out in any legislative reform," the company said, adding companies should have the chance to address specific security concerns. Continued...