Huawei hires Aussie law firm to defend against "lies and slurs"

Huawei hires Aussie law firm to defend against "lies and slurs"

Networking equipment giant says pipeline of works likely to be dry by the end of 2020 unless 5G ban is lifted

Credit: Dreamstime

Huawei Australia has hired recently-established law firm Xenophon Davis to help defend the local business against "malicious and false attacks designed to cause us reputational damage".

The Chinese telecommunications equipment giant said in a statement the move is to ensure Australians get the truth and factual information about Huawei "rather than lies and slurs driven by conflicts of interest."

The law firm will work with Huawei's corporate affairs team to help it challenge what it called false and misleading statements.

“Xenophon Davis will provide us with crucial assistance as we seek to defend ourselves against malicious attacks from entities intent on causing us reputational damage," Huawei Australia director of corporate and public affairs Jeremy Mitchell said.

“Every smear against Huawei is also a smear against our hard working staff and we want to make sure the important discussion around Cyber Security is based on facts and not baseless innuendo that is unfortunately dominating the current discussion.

“We owe it to our staff and our customers to push back against these baseless and sensationalised slurs on our good work and history,” Mitchell added.

Huawei has also warned that its pipeline of works is likely to be dry by the end of 2020 unless the 5G ban is lifted.

In August 2018, Huawei revealed it had been banned by the Australian Government from providing 5G technology in the country.

Huawei claims to have spent $1 billion in the last two years building the mobile infrastructure but as a result of the ban this work has slowed and will come to an end over the next two years.

It also claims that this work generates 1,500 jobs which could be lost. That includes small and medium businesses and contractors.

“Our suppliers are overwhelmingly small-to-medium sized business employing around 30 people and in many cases Huawei is currently delivering around 80 per cent of their annual revenues – so without us they are in huge trouble," Mitchell said in a statement.

“Once you factor in the sub-contractors that are employed by our principal suppliers we are currently responsible for around 1,500 jobs in the local telecom construction industry – but the cold reality is that unless the 5G ban on Huawei is reversed those jobs will be lost over the next 18 months."

He also said that there is no competition to spur 5G rollout which could result in those job losses.

“Construction of the NBN will be completed by June and with so little capital expenditure going into 5G deployment there are clearly very challenging times ahead for the local telecom construction sector.

“We hope common sense prevails and that Huawei is ultimately allowed to deliver 5G in Australia in the way we are already doing in the UK, South Korea, Switzerland, Spain and many others.”

Craig Newton, director of operations at Rockford Services, said the Brisbane-based business has been working with Huawei for four years and it is a major customer.

“We now have to go out and try to find new customers, not an easy task in the current environment because the NBN rollout is coming to a close and we are not seeing 5G being deployed with any great urgency by the operators,” Newton said.

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