Sweden bans Huawei and ZTE from its new 5G infrastructure

Huawei HQ.
(Image credit: Huawei)

In an announcement outlining the guidelines for its upcoming 3.5Ghz and 2.3Ghz auctions, the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS) has stipulated that any company bidding for spectrum, which currently uses Huawei and ZTE, must phase out those companies’ technology by the 1st January 2025.

These spectrum auctions are due to start on 10th November 2020, and Hi3G Access, Net4Mobility, Telia Sverige and Teracom have been approved for participation. 

Following a period of consultation with the Swedish Armed Forces and Swedish Security Service, a list of licence conditions have been introduced, which are as follows:

  • The licence holder shall take necessary technical and organizational actions to safeguard that the radio use according to the licence does not cause harm to Sweden’s security.
  • New installations and new implementation of central functions for the radio use in the frequency bands must not be carried out with products from the suppliers Huawei or ZTE.
  • If existing infrastructure for central functions is to be used to provide services in the concerned frequency bands, products from Huawei and ZTE must be phased out 1 January 2025 at the latest.
  • If central functions are dependant of staff or functions placed in foreign countries, such dependencies must be phased out and, if necessary, be replaced by functions or staff placed in Sweden. This must be completed by 1 January 2025.

And, according to PTS, the ‘central functions’ mentioned above are here to be understood as functions in the radio access network (RAN), the transmission network, the core network and the service and maintenance network, which are necessary to maintain network functionality and services.

Good news for Ericsson and Nokia

This will be good news for the likes of Ericsson (Swedish) and Nokia (Finnish), which have been busily trying to hoover up 5G contracts from Huawei, as the pressure being put on the Chinese tech giant by the Trump administration begins to spread beyond the United States.

The US hardened its sanctions against Huawei earlier this year, ramping up pressure on the UK, which ultimately meant that the UK’s Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre (HCSEC) facility in Banbury, Oxfordshire, could no longer test Huawei’s products to a level where it could confidently assess the security implications for the UK’s networking infrastructure.

To this end, the UK government has now requested that operators should, by the end of 2020, “seek to cease procuring and deploying Huawei 5G access equipment, all transport equipment, and other miscellany to manage the long-term risks of the newly designed products”.

Now it appears that Sweden is following the likes of the UK, Australia, and India, in restricting access to its 5G infrastructure, putting the future of Huawei’s networking business outside China in serious jeopardy.

Dan Oliver

Dan is a British journalist with 20 years of experience in the design and tech sectors, producing content for the likes of Microsoft, Adobe, Dell and The Sunday Times. In 2012 he helped launch the world's number one design blog, Creative Bloq. Dan is now editor-in-chief at 5Gradar, where he oversees news, insight and reviews, providing an invaluable resource for anyone looking to stay up-to-date with the key issues facing 5G.