Swedish Regulator To Challenge Court Order On Huawei Ban

The impact of the official decision to exclude Swedish operators bidding in upcoming 5G auction if they use Huawei equipment, continues to be felt nearly a month later.

The Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS) in October had imposed licence conditions for local operators looking to take part in its upcoming 5G spectrum auctions, ruling that any auction bidders must remove Huawei and ZTE gear from existing central functions by January 2025 at the latest.

That Swedish decision came after assessments by the Swedish Armed Forces and security service, which called China “one of the biggest threats against Sweden.”

Appeal challenge

China responded when it issued a thinly veiled trade threat against Sweden, after its communications watchdog prevented Swedish operators from using equipment from Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE.

Huawei also challenged that PTS decision in the Swedish courts, and according to Reuters, a court suspended parts of the earlier decision by PTS.

The Chinese networking giant had appealed against PTS’ decision to exclude it, saying it wanted a court to check if it had been taken according to the law.

This court ruling resulted in PTS on Monday halting 5G spectrum auctions.

And PTS said it would challenge the court ruling.

“PTS will appeal the administrative court’s decision on inhibition to the next instance,” the regulator said in a statement on Friday.

The auctions were originally expected to start this week, and were widely expected to have have benefited Nokia and Ericsson Reuters reported.

PTS said in Friday’s statement that it would wait for a decision from the administrative court of appeal to decide how to proceed with auctions.

Huawei reportedly told Reuters on Monday that it had no plan for more legal action, and was waiting to have a constructive dialogue with Swedish authorities.

Huawei troubles

But there is little trouble the Chinese firm is experiencing issues around the world.

In the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson in July ordered all Huawei equipment to be purged completely from Britain’s 5G network by 2027.

Canada has also ‘unofficially’ excluded Huawei from 5G networks, by delaying a decision long enough to force local operators to exclude equipment from the vendor.

Germany in September announced it was aiming for tougher oversight of Huawei, but stopped short of an outright ban, as part of its strategy to handle ‘high risk vendors’.

Germany’s decision for tougher scrutiny was opposed by local operators, and instead of an opting for an outright ban on Huawei, some experts feel that Germany is effectively going to strangle Huawei in red tape.

France meanwhile is reportedly considering informally excluding the Chinese vendor.

It comes after one of France’s largest mobile operators, Bouygues Telecom, confirmed in August it would remove 3,000 Huawei mobile antennas by 2028.

In July major Portuguese telcos (NOS, Altice and Vodafone) said they would not use Huawei kit for their 5G networks.

Huawei has also been sidelined in Norway, after Telenor confirmed last December that it has picked Sweden’s Ericsson as the key technology provider for its 5G network in Norway.

Dutch telecom KPN also recently opted to use 5G equipment from Sweden’s Ericsson.

KPN had already decided last year not to use equipment from China’s Huawei.

Indeed, KPN became one of the first European operator to rule out Huawei when in April 2019 it reportedly said it would select a Western supplier to build its core 5G mobile network.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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