Sweden bans Huawei, ZTE from 5G network

Sweden says it is banning Huawei from its 5G networks. If Beijing decides to retaliate, that could leave Swedish telecom gear maker Ericsson vulnerable.

STOCKHOLM • Swedish regulators yesterday banned the use of tele-communications equipment from China's Huawei and ZTE in its 5G network ahead of a spectrum auction scheduled for next month.

The Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS) said that the setting of the licence conditions followed assessments by the Swedish Armed Forces and the Swedish Security Service.

PTS said in a statement that the "influence of China's one-party state over the country's private sector brings with it strong incentives for privately owned companies to act in accordance with state goals and the communist party's national strategies".

European governments have been reviewing the role of Chinese companies in building their networks following pressure from the United States, which says that they pose a security threat because, among other concerns, Chinese companies and citizens must, by law, aid the state in intelligence gathering.

In July, Britain ordered Huawei equipment to be purged completely from the country's 5G network by 2027, becoming one of the first countries in Europe to do so.

Huawei and ZTE did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the decision by Sweden.

PTS said companies taking part in the auction must remove Huawei and ZTE gear from existing central functions by Jan 1, 2025.

The regulator defined central functions as equipment used to build the radio access network, the transmission network, the core network and the service and maintenance of the network.

REUTERS, BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 21, 2020, with the headline 'Sweden bans Huawei, ZTE from 5G network'. Print Edition | Subscribe