Spark New Zealand leads 5G rollout with Nokia, keeps Huawei on preferred suppliers list

The use of Huawei equipment ran into a major roadblock in November 2018 when New Zealand's intelligence agency rejected Spark's proposal to use Huawei equipment, citing national security risks.
The use of Huawei equipment ran into a major roadblock in November 2018 when New Zealand's intelligence agency rejected Spark's proposal to use Huawei equipment, citing national security risks.PHOTO: AFP

AUCKLAND (REUTERS) - Spark New Zealand Ltd said on Monday (Nov 18) it abandoned plans to rely on China's Huawei exclusively for the rollout of 5G services but would keep it as part of a three-company preferred list of equipment suppliers.

The use of Huawei Technologies equipment ran into a major roadblock in November 2018 when New Zealand's intelligence agency rejected Spark's proposal to use Huawei equipment, citing national security risks.

The Chinese company has been under scrutiny over allegations and concerns that China could use Huawei's equipment for espionage, a charge that Huawei has repeatedly denied.

Spark said that Nokia, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Huawei made up its preferred list of suppliers and it would kick off its 5G rollout with Nokia - for which it has New Zealand government approval.

The Auckland-based company said wireless 5G broadband would be introduced in five areas in New Zealand's South Island before Christmas, and in major centres from mid-2020.