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Policy report

Ensuring a trusted 5G ecosystem of vendors and technology

5G telecommunications Mobile telecommunications Australia

5G will be the next generation of mobile telecommunications.

There are differing views on how quickly it will become commonplace and exactly what form it will take, but it will ultimately transform much of what we do and how society functions. The trustworthiness, security and resilience of 5G networks will therefore be critical. A key part of this will be the partnerships that network operators form with vendors to provide and maintain the network infrastructure. There’s now a good understanding that 5G will underpin critical national infrastructure in a way that previous telecommunication technologies don’t, and that supply-chain trust and security are key national security issues.

Australia and some other countries have eliminated specific vendors from their 5G supply chains, but the space is globally contested and there is no consensus on what happens next. There is a need for a trusted ecosystem of vendors, which may also bring enormous opportunities for states, including Australia, to develop sovereign 5G capabilities and grow their 5G market. However, barriers to entry and a lack of consensus among key 5G stakeholders across the public and private sectors are holding up progress towards these goals.

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Policy Brief Report No.30/2020