Sunday, 07 March 2021

Swedish 5G auction completes despite Huawei opposition

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Wednesday 20 January 21

Four operators won spectrum licences, raising around $275 million

Sweden’s 5G spectrum auction has had a bumpy ride in recent months, even putting aside the now typical pandemic disruptions. When first announced back in October, Sweden’s regulator, the Post and Telecom Authority (PTS) announced that it would not allow Huawei or ZTE to provide any equipment for the country&rsquo…

Sweden’s 5G spectrum auction has had a bumpy ride in recent months, even putting aside the now typical pandemic disruptions. When first announced back in October, Sweden’s regulator, the Post and Telecom Authority (PTS) announced that it would not allow Huawei or ZTE to provide any equipment for the country’s upcoming 5G networks and would mandate the nation’s operators to phase out the Chinese tech by 2025.
 
Naturally, the Chinese vendors appealed this decision, which saw the spectrum auction delayed until the matter was resolved. After much back and forth between the vendors, PTS, and the Swedish courts, late last week Huawei’s challenge to the auctions legitimacy was thrown out by the Administrative Court of Appeal, allowing the auction to go ahead as planned. The court said that its decision was final and could not be appealed further.
 
Now, just days later and after just four rounds of bidding, the auction is complete, with all four firms permitted to bid taking home at least one licence. Hi3G Access, Net4Mobility (a joint venture by Sweden’s Tele2 and Norway’s Telenor), and Telia Sweden each took a share of the 15 licences available in the 3.5 GHz band, while Teracom Group won all eight licences in the 2.3 GHz band.
 
In total, the auction raised around $275 million.
 
With the auction complete, all four licence holders will be working rapidly to greatly expand their nationwide 5G rollout, many of them highlighting the importance of this new spectrum when it comes to covering highly populated areas and key national infrastructure.
 
For Huawei, however, it seems that their Swedish 5G ambitions are now entirely dashed. With little legal recourse against the decision to ban them from the upcoming networks, this is one more European market that seems to have slipped through their fingertips due to national security fears.
 
 
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