Australia’s TPG Drops 5G Network Rollout Plan Over Huawei Ban

TPG Telecom, a prime communication services provider in Australia, Tuesday said it has dropped the idea of rolling its network further because of a Government ban on Huawei equipments for the country’s 5G infrastructure.

“It does not make commercial sense to invest further shareholder funds (beyond that which is already committed) in a network that cannot be upgraded to 5G,” said the company in a filing in the exchanges.

TPG was planning to roll out its telecom network, primarily based on small cell architecture, since April 2017 and Huawei was selected as the technology provider.

“A key reason for the selection of the vendor and the design of TPG’s network was that there was a simple upgrade path to 5G, using Huawei equipment,” the company said. “In light of the Government’s announcement in late August 2018 that it would prohibit the use of Huawei equipment in 5G networks, that upgrade path has now been blocked.”

Australia had banned Huawei equipments to be used in the country’s 5G networks on security grounds suspecting that the controversial Chinese telecom gear maker can have access to the country’s critical infrastructure. Australia is not the only that has banned Huawei, some other developed countries like the US, Canada, the UK and New Zealand have also banned the Chinese firm in some way or the other for some reasons or the other.

Also Read : Canadian PM Fires His Ambassador To China Over Huawei Remarks

TPG Telecom, on the other hand, had been rolling out its telecom network since April 2017 and had invested over $100 million to set up 1500 sites. By the time the Huawei ban came to effect, the telecom operator had already set up over 900 such sites. But now, the company believes there is no point in investing in a network that can not be upgraded to 5G.

“It is extremely disappointing that the clear strategy the Company had to become a mobile network operator at the forefront of 5G has been undone by factors outside of TPG’s control. Over the past two years a huge amount of time and resource has been invested in creating and delivering on a strategy that would have positioned TPG very favourably to exploit the opportunities that the advent of 5G will present,” said TPG Executive Chairman David Teoh.

It is interesting to notice that Vodafone Group, whose Australia unit has merged with TPG Telecom, had also ‘paused’ using Huawei equipments in the UK.

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