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Swedish Huawei ban is legal, court rules

A Swedish ban on Chinese telecoms company Huawei was confirmed in court on Tuesday, citing the country's security as a just reason for banning its equipment in a 5G rollout.

Swedish Huawei ban is legal, court rules
Photo: AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein

The administrative court in Stockholm ruled that the decision of the Swedish telecoms authority, PTS, to ban the use of equipment from Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE in a new Swedish 5G telecom network last October — a move that irked Beijing — was legal.

Equipment already installed must also be removed by January 1st, 2025.

“Sweden’s security is an important reason and the administrative court has considered that it’s only the security police and the military that together have a full picture when it comes to the security situation and threats against Sweden,” judge Ulrika Melin said in a statement.

Huawei denounced the ruling, but did not say whether it would appeal.

“We are of course noting that there has been no evidence of any wrongdoings by Huawei which is being used as basis for this verdict, it is purely based on assumption,” Kenneth Fredriksen, the company’s vice-president for Central, Eastern Europe and the Nordic region, told AFP.

Huawei will now evaluate the decision and the “see what kind of actions we will take to protect our rights,” Fredriksen added.

After the UK in the summer of 2020, Sweden became the second country in Europe and the first in the EU to explicitly ban Huawei from almost all of the network infrastructure needed to run its 5G network.

Beijing had warned that PTS’ decision could have “consequences” for the Scandinavian country’s companies in China, prompting Swedish telecom giant and Huawei competitor Ericsson to worry about retaliation.

“We will continue to be available to have constructive dialogues with Swedish authorities to see if we can find pragmatic ways of taking care of security and at the same time keeping an open and fair market like Sweden has always been,” Fredriksen said.

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HUAWEI

Sweden bans Huawei and ZTE from 5G network

Sweden has become the latest nation to ban the Chinese telecoms groups Huawei and ZTE from its 5G network, saying doing otherwise would "harm security".

Sweden bans Huawei and ZTE from 5G network
A man checks his phone in front of a Huawei sign. Photo: Mark Schiefelbein
The ban is in line with new legislation that entered into force in January 2020, following an examination by the Swedish armed forces and security service “to ensure that the use of radio equipment in these bands does not cause harm to Sweden's security,” the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority said in a statement.
   
Huawei, the world number two in mobile phones and a market leader for next generation 5G equipment, and ZTE will also have to remove any existing installations by January 1, 2025.
   
The United States alleges Chinese firms are used to spy for Beijing — allegations which China denies — and has piled pressure on allies to cut Huawei from their internet infrastructure.
 
 
 
Britain in July banned mobile providers from using equipment made by Huawei in their new 5G networks, and gave companies in the UK until 2027 to remove Huawei equipment.
   
France has also placed heavy restrictions on the use of equipment by Huawei.
   
Tuesday's ban came as PTS announced it had approved four applications for Sweden's 5G spectrum auctions planned to start on November 10.   
 
The four companies, all Swedish, are Hi3G Access, Net4Mobility, Telia Sweden and Teracom.
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