Sweden has banned telecoms gear from Huawei Technologies and ZTE within its own 5G community, linking other European nations that have restricted the use of Chinese providers on safety grounds.
Telecoms regulator PTS stated Tuesday’s decision, before a spectrum auction due next month, followed advice from the country’s armed forces and security service, that described China as”one of the biggest threats against Sweden”.
European governments have been tightening controls on Chinese firms building 5G networks subsequent diplomatic pressure from Washington, which means Huawei equipment may be employed by Beijing for hacking. Huawei has repeatedly denied being a national security threat.
Even the UK in July ordered Huawei equipment to be purged completely from its 5G community by 2027, becoming one of the very first European countries to achieve that.
China explained no “concrete evidence” had been provided to demonstrate equipment from its companies posed a risk to Sweden’s national security.
“There are no factual grounds to support allegations of Huawei posing any security threat,” that a Huawei spokesman said. “The exclusion of Huawei is simply based on groundless presumption and is unfair and unacceptable.”
ZTE didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
“The ban leaves network operators with less options and risks slowing the rollout of 5G in markets where competition is reduced,” said Ben Wood, chief of study at CCS Insight.
In a possible sign it may retaliate, China’s telecoms regulator issued a notice on Tuesday calling for stricter supervision of foreign telecoms companies in the country.
Sweden is currently home to Ericsson, among Europe’s top telecoms equipment suppliers and Huawei’s largest rival.
It has won contracts from all three main operators in China to supply radio equipment for 5G networks and may be at risk if the Chinese government decides to retaliate.
“It could be that some of the European vendors will sell less in China going forward if the Chinese are selling less in Europe going forward,” CEO Kjell Johnsen of Swedish-based telecom operator Tele2 stated in a post-earnings seminar call.
Ericsson and Finland’s Nokia are likely to benefit from the ban everywhere. The Swedish company said it wouldn’t comment on domestic security issues while Nokia declined to comment.
PTS gave companies getting involved in the auction until Jan. 1, 2025 to eliminate Huawei and ZTE gear from their current infrastructure and core purposes.
It’s approved the involvement of Sweden’s Hi3G Access, Net4Mobility – a consortium of Tele2 along with Telenor – Telia Sverige and Teracom in the planned spectrum market of 3.5 GHz and 2.3 GHz, rings crucial for the 5G rollout.
Tele2, which utilizes Huawei gear in its own community and had previously called Huawei a significant vendor, ” said the ban”does not change our plans substantially”.
The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed the ‘Sweden bans Huawei and ZTE from upcoming 5G networks‘ article. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee, Helena Soderpalm and Johannes Hellstrom in Stockholm. Additional reporting by Brendah Goh in Shanghai. Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarsie and Mark Potter.
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