Mobile phone costs set to soar

Your mobile phone plan costs could be about to soar.

The Federal Government has banned Chinese giant Huawei, the biggest telecommunications supplier in the world, and tech firm ZTE, which makes mobile devices, from participating in the rollout of Australia’s 5G mobile network.

That decision will force the likes of Telstra, Optus and Vodafone to buy equipment from rivals at costs estimated to be up to 30 per cent higher. Those costs will be passed on to consumers.

The ban could also mean that devices manufactured for Australia by ZTE, including smartphones and modems, will increase in cost.

The issue is security.

Mobile companies are planning to roll out the 5G network early next year. They say it will provide faster data speeds, enhanced capacity and lower latency.

“Low latency makes it very useful for emerging technologies such as autonomous cars,” says The Mandarin. “The 5G network promises the ability to improve the daily lives of Australians, strengthen our connectivity and accelerate our networks.”

Huawei confirmed late last week that it had been told by the Australian Government it was clamping down on both them and ZTE due to security concerns.

It has been alleged that Huawei was involved in intelligence sharing and cyber espionage, “with ASIO listing the company as an ‘extreme’ threat to Australian security,” The Mandarin reports.

That listing prevented it from being involved in the rollout of the NBN.

Huawei Australia says it has “safely and securely delivered wireless technology” in the country for almost 15 years. This is a [sic] extremely disappointing result for consumers.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said last week: “A long history of cyber incidents shows cyber actors target Australia and Australians. Government has found no combination of technical security controls that sufficiently mitigate the risks.”

Communication Minister Senator Mitch Fifield said the Government was committed to the “timely rollout of 5G networks in Australia” and that “5G will drive substantial economic and social benefits across the economy through new technologies that will be used in autonomous vehicles, smart cities and advanced agriculture.”

Tech website smartcompany.com.au said that while the network was protected by current security controls, the 5G network, with its increased complexity, would render those protections ineffective.

Are you prepared for the inevitability of more costly phone plans? Could that be a stress point in funding your retirement?

Related articles:
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What Google does with your data
NBN cop forces telcos to behave

Written by Janelle Ward

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