Huawei Sidelined In Norway After Telenor Opts For Ericsson

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Norway’s largest telecom provider Telenor is to phase out Huawei equipment as it opts for 5G kit from Ericsson

Huawei has been dealt a blow in Norway after Telenor confirmed that it has picked Sweden’s Ericsson as the key technology provider for its fifth-generation (5G) telecoms network in Norway.

Telenor has over the last ten years used Huawei equipment for its 4G network, but Reuters reported that equipment from the Chinese vendor will be gradually removed.

The news comes after the UK voted in Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party this week, which could potentially impact Huawei’s involvement in the 5G networks already being constructed.

5G networks

Earlier this week there was good news for Huawei after Telefonica Deutschland became the first major mobile operator in Germany to public declare it will use Huawei equipment in its 5G network – eventhough Germany has yet to finalise security rules on equipment suppliers.

The company, which operates under the O2 brand in Germany, opted to use 5G equipment from both Nokia and Huawei.

But Telenor, which operates not just in Norway but other Scandinavian countries, has opted not to use its equipment.

It comes after repeated pressure from the United States on its allies not to use equipment from the Chinese vendor.

For example, earlier this month at the NATO summit in Watford, England, US President Donald Trump insisted that Huawei remains a security risk.

Huawei for its part has always maintained that its equipment poses no security risk and it has even offered full access to its equipment.

Security concern

Telenor’s decision came amid this US pressure, plus the fact that the Norwegian security services also warned against using equipment from the firm, Reuters reported.

Norway’s PST security police has reportedly said only companies from nations with which Norway has close security cooperation should be allowed to supply 5G technology.

Norway co-operates with neighbours Sweden and Finland, but not with China.

“The 5G era is here. This will be the one technology that will most transform our society in the next decade,” Telenor chief executive Sigve Brekke reportedly tweeted as he announced that Ericsson will build the 5G radio access network (RAN).

He reportedly said Telenor had carried out an “extensive” security evaluation as well as considering factors such as technical quality, innovation and modernisation of the network.

“Based on the comprehensive and holistic evaluation, we have decided to introduce a new partner for this important technology shift in Norway,” he reportedly said.

A spokeswoman for Ericsson said the company was “very proud” to be chosen as a partner by Telenor but declined to comment further.

State-controlled Telenor is Norway’s biggest telecoms provider, and is active in the rest of the Nordic region as well as five Asian countries, serving some 183 million customers.

Meanwhile the use of Huawei network components in Norway will be phased out over a 4-5 year modernisation period, the head of Telenor Norway, Petter-Boerre Furberg, told Reuters.

Two smaller Norwegian operators, Ice and Telia, have picked Nokia and Ericsson respectively for their Norwegian 5G networks.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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