Friday, 01 November 2019 11:46

5G Australia’s 'last chance' for high-speed broadband, says Huawei Featured

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Five G is Australia’s last chance to deliver universal high-speed broadband to all Australians, according to Chinese telco giant Huawei, which says that Australia is already being left far behind in the global race to deliver 5G technology.

Huawei’s view on Australia’s 5G future was put forward in a submission by the telco to the Inquiry into 5G in Australia led by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Communications and the Arts.

“5G is Australia’s last chance to get world class high speed broadband for all Australians following the disappointing outcomes for consumers on the NBN and, in particular, Huawei is deeply concerned regional and rural consumers will receive limited or no 5G services,” the Huawei submission said.

“Committee members should be absolutely clear that farmers in countries such as Switzerland and Korea are already accessing 5G technology that enables them to operate far more efficiently. This is no longer a pipe-dream, PowerPoint presentation or a slick TV commercial, it is happening right now – but not here in Australia.

“Because of the 20-40% increase in technology costs, the business case for telecom operators to roll-out 5G in regional Australia becomes near impossible.

“Australian farmers will be waiting years to get an opportunity to benefit from the productivity gains from 5G. Many may never get the opportunity, especially farmers on the fringe of the current 4G network.”

In its submission, Huawei noted that other countries in Europe and Asia have near nationwide 5G coverage already in place at a time when the vast percentage of Australia’s major cities do not have 5G coverage.

“Australia is being left behind in the global race to roll-out 5G and the consequences for Australia’s competitiveness and future prosperity are enormous,” the submission said.

Huawei Australia also argued that the 5G ban on Huawei is effectively delivering a ‘5G Tax’ on Australians that will see them pay more for their 5G services than they would have done if operators had been allowed to deliver its 5G technology to operators.

“Australian operators will pay between 20%-40% more than the rest of the world for 5G technology. This cost will mean Australians will have higher telecom bills at a time when they are already suffering from higher electricity and petrol prices,” the Huawei submission said.

The Huawei Australia submission said that the exclusion of Huawei from helping its local customers deliver 5G to Australians has critically reduced 5G vendor competition and that as a result 5G in Australia is still “more a marketing tool than the substantial transformative technology for the Australian economy.”

“Whilst deploying 5G at the MCG for the AFL Grand Final might make for a whimsical media release it doesn’t make up for the fact that our 5G coverage remains miniscule compared to our international peers,” the Huawei Australia submission said.

“The lack of competition has already had an impact on Australia’s 5G roll-outs. Australia has the distinction of being the only country in the world found to have its 4G network faster than its 5G networks.”

Huawei Australia argued in its submission that its continued exclusion from the 5G market was critically reducing competition which would ultimately result in a single European vendor achieving a near monopoly in 5G.

“It is Huawei’s belief that the real reality for Australia will be a 5G technology vendor near monopoly, with one company ending up being dominate, if not sole supplier, of 5G in Australia. This will have a profound impact on the costs, innovation and security of Australia’s 5G future,” the submission said.

“We make the point that we welcome a rigorous and transparent examination of this 5G ban, with the learnt experience in the UK and the European Union of robust checks and balances as a way forward to revisit the ban.

“Vendor competition is the key policy lever that the government can use to ensure Australia has a deep and rapid rollout of 5G infrastructure. We cannot afford another NBN-like policy failure,” saidJeremy Mitchell, Director of Corporate & Public Affairs at Huawei.

“5G is the last chance for Australia to deliver high-speed broadband to all Australians after the failure of the NBN to deliver what it promised to the country – we can’t afford to make that kind of mistake again,” Mitchell warned.

“The rest of the world is already moving ahead of us at a very fast rate, we need high-speed broadband to bring us economic prosperity for the future.

“The ban on Huawei is basically a ‘5G Tax’ on all Australians with the costs of getting 5G services going up for all Australians.

“The reality is that in Australia that there are more billboards advertising 5G than there are actual 5G sites at a time when countries like the UK, Switzerland, South Korea and Spain have fast growing 5G rollouts.

“Unfortunately regional Australia is realty going to miss out on the economic benefits of 5G because the ban on Huawei means the business case to rollout 5G to regional Australia becomes near impossible because of the higher costs involved.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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