Wednesday, 02 December 2020

Sweden latest country to shun Huawei and ZTE

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Tuesday 20 October 20

Swedish regulators have today announced that the use of Huawei and ZTE equipment in national 5G networks will be banned and existing equipment must be removed by 2025

The European dominoes continue to fall for Huawei as Sweden’s regulator, the Post and Telecom Authority (PTS), has today announced that Huawei and ZTE will be banned from the nation’s upcoming 5G networks. On top of this, the companies must be removed from operators' existing networks by 2025.   The move comes as part of the licence conditions for the country&rsquo…

The European dominoes continue to fall for Huawei as Sweden’s regulator, the Post and Telecom Authority (PTS), has today announced that Huawei and ZTE will be banned from the nation’s upcoming 5G networks. On top of this, the companies must be removed from operators' existing networks by 2025.
 
The move comes as part of the licence conditions for the country’s upcoming 5G spectrum auction, which is scheduled to begin next month. The regulator has reportedly added the conditions banning the Chinese vendors following assessments performed by the Swedish Armed Forces and Swedish Security.
 
This decision will come as another feather in the cap for US foreign policy, which has been pressing European nations to ban Huawei based on national security fears for almost a year now. The UK was one of the first to comply, initially slighting the US with a partial ban in January which was extended to a full phase out by 2027. More recently, both France and Germany have indicated that they will also be banning Huawei from their 5G networks, although not explicitly; Germany is introducing stricter cybersecurity laws that will make it untenable to work with the Chinese vendor, while France is implementing a de facto ban by 2028 through refusing to renew licences for Huawei equipment.  
 
However, not all of Europe supports this growing ban on Chinese equipment vendors. Indeed, at the end of last week the European Competitive Telecommunications Association (ECTA) said that the bans must be based on “well-established facts” and not merely “geopolitical reasons”. They argue that a ban will drive up costs for operators and their customers, as well as delaying network upgrades.
 
How China will respond to this ban is not immediately clear. Sweden’s relationship with China is a complicated one. On the one hand, China is its largest Asian trading partner, with Chinese companies playing a key role in the Swedish economy; Volvo, for example, is owned by Zhejiang Geely. On the other hand, Sweden has been an outspoken critic of China in the international community, challenging the country over issues including the treatment of the Uighurs and the unrest in Hong Kong. Sweden was one of the first countries to introduce legislation that requires strict screening of potential 5G suppliers, a move partially directed at the Chinese vendors amid domestic claims that Swedish lawmakers had been lax and naive in allowing Chinese state-aligned businesses to operate on their soil.
 
With such an uneasy political balance between the two countries, this move could see sparks fly in the telecoms sector and beyond.
 
 
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