Huawei has taken out full-page commercials in New Zealand newspapers that compare banning the company from 5G networks to the sport of rugby without the country’s famous team.
“5G without Huawei is like rugby without New Zealand,” the ad says, warning that “without Huawei, New Zealand will miss out on the most advanced 5G technology available, and consumers may end up paying more for it.”
The ad appeared in newspapers and on websites including leading media outlets Stuff.co.nz and The New Zealand Herald this week.
New Zealand’s national rugby team the “All Blacks” have held an 89 percent win record since the 2011 World Cup, and have won the World Cup twice.
China-NZ relations and spying – Huawei's advertisement in NZ daily papers today (this one, Dominion Post) lobbying against the Government's ban on its involvement in the 5G network: pic.twitter.com/lswuiuJ2Ww
— Bryce Edwards (@bryce_edwards) February 12, 2019
New Zealand’s intelligence agency rejected the Chinese telecoms giant’s bid in November to provide equipment for the nation’s 5G network, citing national security concerns. Several international governments have flagged concerns on including Chinese equipment in 5G rollouts which they say would enable Chinese espionage. Huawei and others have repeatedly denied the claims.
A spokesperson for Huawei was not immediately available for comment, but the company previously told CNBC: “We see no rational reason to exclude Huawei from building the 5G infrastructure in any country in the world. Any exclusion of a supplier in a market with few suppliers usually results in poorer quality at higher prices.”
Huawei’s exclusion from 5G infrastructure in New Zealand came after security allies Australia and the U.S. banned the firm from their domestic networks. The U.K. is also reportedly considering the tech firm’s role in its 5G rollout, and the German government held a meeting in January to assess risks posed by the company.
Superfast 5G mobile internet is expected to revolutionize the digital economy by enabling new technologies such as self-driving cars and the internet of things.
Despite growing international restrictions, Huawei secured 26 5G contracts last year, making it the largest 5G vendor in the world, according to Reuters.