Huawei Australia's chairman has declared the company is "here to stay" and expressed his hope of eventually overcoming the government's ban on the Chinese telecommunications giant's participation in Australia's 5G rollout.
Standing in front of Parliament House to announce the renewal of a sponsorship agreement with the Canberra Raiders, John Lord said the introduction of 5G technology would take a "long time" and the company would continue to lobby for inclusion in the nation's next-generation networks.
"I, John Lord, and the board of Huawei hope that further down the track there may be room in Australia for Huawei to participate in 5G but that is a decision for national governments and it's up to us to keep showing the government the advantages of including Huawei in the Australian 5G network," Mr Lord said.
He also responded to Communications Minister Paul Fletcher's view that the exclusion of Huawei would not leave Australia with more expensive, inferior technology, saying it was better to have more competition and the "leading technology provider" in the market. "There was a study done 18 months ago which said that without all the leading players in the game, it will be more expensive and you will not necessarily get the best technology. But that's to go in the future. There's a long time in the 5G build," Mr Lord said.
A study done 18 months ago said that without all the leading players in the game, it will be more expensive and you will not necessarily get the best technologyHuawei Australia chairman John Lord
The Coalition government banned Huawei from providing 5G equipment last year, announcing the exclusion of companies "likely to be subject to extrajudicial directions from a foreign government". Mr Lord said Huawei was "here to stay" regardless of 5G and the company valued the Australian market. Huawei's Australian revenue last year was $650 million and Mr Lord said 55 per cent of Australians were using Huawei technology in 4G networks.
Dennis Richardson, a former secretary of the Department of Defence and ex-head of security agency ASIO, attended the Thursday event as a Canberra Raiders board director. Mr Richardson declined to comment on the 5G ban, saying it had "nothing to do with the Canberra Raiders and their sponsorship". "Security is a matter for the government. I'm a director of the Canberra Raiders," he said. "I don't have to support or otherwise the decision of the government. I support the Canberra Raiders and I welcome any sponsorship that we get from Huawei."
Raiders chief executive Don Furner said he was "very, very proud" of the club's relationship with Huawei.