Sweden excludes Chinese from 5G expansion

Huawei billboard in Beijing

The use of Chinese equipment in mobile communications is currently being critically examined in a number of countries in Europe.

(Photo: dpa)

Düsseldorf Business for the Chinese network supplier Huawei is becoming more and more difficult in Europe. After Great Britain and France, Sweden has now effectively excluded the company from expanding the new 5G mobile communications standard.

The Swedish Post and Telecommunications Authority (PTS) announced on Tuesday that in addition to Huawei, the Chinese network supplier ZTE would also be locked out of the 5G expansion. The reason for the step was an assessment by the Swedish army and Swedish security services.

The use of Chinese equipment in mobile communications is currently being critically examined in a number of countries in Europe. At the beginning of the year, Sweden implemented a new rule that stipulates that network equipment providers must first be checked by the army and security authorities before they can be used.

As a result, Huawei and ZTE have now been excluded from the network expansion. Components that have already been installed must be removed from the network by January 1, 2025 at the latest, PTS said. The domestic telecommunications equipment supplier Ericsson and the Finnish operator Nokia are likely to benefit from the ban.

A Huawei spokeswoman said on request: “There is no objective reason for the claim that Huawei represents a security threat. We consider Huawei’s exclusion based on an unfounded suspicion to be unfair and unacceptable.” ZTE’s reaction to the decision in Sweden was initially still out.

In Sweden, the frequencies in the range of 3.5 gigahertz that are important for 5G mobile communications will be auctioned from November 10th. The four companies Hi3G Access, Net4Mobility, Telia Sverige and Teracom will take part in the auction.

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A final decision is still pending in Germany

Sweden’s approach is also very relevant for Germany. A final decision on the use of Huawei and ZTE is still pending in Germany. Planned rules already provide that outfitters have to undergo a safety check – similar to what has already happened in Sweden.

The US had mainly accused Huawei of acting as a gateway for Chinese espionage and sabotage and imposed sanctions on the company. Huawei had always denied the allegations and stressed that evidence of the allegation was never publicly presented.

Beijing is preparing for possible retaliation. According to a report by the state news agency Xinhua, the Chinese government has passed a new law in order to impose import restrictions on companies in other countries. Whether this could also mean the Swedish network supplier Ericsson was initially open. Ericsson has been supplying equipment for Chinese cellular networks for many years.

More: Belgium does without Huawei in the 5G expansion – and relies on Nokia