Government urging Telus to remove Huawei gear from 4G network in National Capital Region: report

Telus allegedly had an understanding with the government that it would not use Huawei gear in the area

The Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development has been urging Telus to remove Huawei equipment from the National Capital Region, as reported by The Globe and Mail. 

The National Capital Region refers to the Ottawa–Gatineau area that covers most of the federal government. Telus’ use of Huawei equipment in its 4G network in the National Capital Region allegedly infringes on an understanding it had with the government.

Telus allegedly reached an understanding years ago with the government that it would not use the Chinese telecom’s equipment in the National Capital Region. The understanding was not made through a formal agreement, and was based on a voluntary basis.

After this understanding, Telus used equipment from a western manufacturer, possibly Nokia, for its 4G network in the area. This area includes many government departments, the RCMP and other agencies. Telus then replaced this equipment with Huawei gear at some point.

The Globe and Mail’s sources say private conversations between Telus and the government have now revealed that the carrier says it did not make this commitment all those years ago regarding pledging to not using Huawei gear in the area.

The carrier told The Globe and Mail that it does not provide comments regarding Ottawa, but says that it is transparent about where it uses Huawei gear. It also stated that all of its operations have complied with a security review program run by the Communications Security Establishment.

“While we aren’t able to comment on specific discussions, we have been very clear with the federal government and key stakeholders about our use of Huawei in the non-sensitive portion of our network,” said Carey Frey, the vice-president and chief security officer at Telus.

Telus is currently partnered with Nokia and Ericsson for its upcoming 5G network, but has previously announced plans that include Huawei. The government has yet to determine whether Huawei will be allowed to participate in the rollout of the next generation of wireless technology across the country.

You can read The Globe and Mail’s full report here.

Source: The Globe and Mail

Update 06/17/20 12:15pm ET: Telus has denied the allegations in the report and provided MobileSyrup the following statement on behalf of Telus’ CTO Ibrahim Gedeon:

“There has never been an agreement — voluntary, verbal or otherwise — between Telus and the federal government regarding the use or prohibition of Huawei network equipment in the National Capital Region, nor has the federal government asked us to remove equipment that is currently in use there. In fact, there is no regional ban on the use of network equipment anywhere in the country.”