Chinese telco vendor Huawei has slammed Australia's ban on it and ZTE from the country's 5G network rollout as "politically motivated, not the result of a fact-based, transparent, or equitable decision making process."
The blowback follows the Australian government's decision announced yesterday that the two Chinese telco giants could not participate in the country's 5G market because of security concerns.
Huawei has now indicated that it might seek to challenge the official ban through the courts.
"We will continue to engage with the Australian Government, and in accordance with Australian law and relevant international conventions, we will take all possible measures to protect our legal rights and interests," the company's global headquarters said in a statement.
Huawei, which has large carriers including Vodafone among customers in Australia, warned of raised costs for network construction, adding that businesses and consumers would be the ones to ultimately most suffer from the government's ban.
The decision was announced on Thursday by then Acting Home Minister Scott Morrison.
Mr Morrison is now the Prime Minister designate following a Liberal Party room spill that effectively removed Malcolm Turnbull as the nation's leader.
Announcing the 5G ban on Thursday, Morrison overtly referred to "vendors who are likely to be subject to extrajudicial directions from a foreign government that conflict with Australian law" but but pulled -up short of namedropping either Huawei and ZTE.
While Huawei did not address the "extrajudicial directions" claim made by Morrison, the company said Chinese law "does not grant government the authority to compel telecommunications firms to install backdoors or listening devices, or engage in any behaviour that might compromise the telecommunications equipment of other nations."
The company also said that it has never been asked to engage in intelligence work on behalf of any government.
Technically, 5G and 4G are fundamentally the same, Huawei said. This means the core and access networks are separated on both, with 5G having stronger guarantees for privacy and security than the existing 4G technology, and the older 3G.
Vodafone yesterday joined Huawei in criticising the the government's ban, arguing that it could threaten the financial viability of 5G rollouts in Australia.
Australian authorities intend to auction off 125 MHz of 3.6 GHz radio-frequency spectrum for 5G network use, in 350 lots across 14 regions in late November 2018 .