Sweden bans Huawei, ZTE as 5G auction participants named

Sweden bans Huawei, ZTE as 5G auction participants named


Sweden has become the latest country to ban the use of Huawei and ZTE equipment from its 5G networks.

Reuters reported today that the European nation had assessed the threat posed by Chinese equipment manufacturers in collaboration with the Swedish Armed Forces and the Swedish Security Service as well as national regulator the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS).

As a result of its investigations the country has now officially banned both Huawei and ZTE ahead of its 5G spectrum auctions, scheduled to take place from 10 November.

Hi3G Access, Net4Mobility (i.e. Tele2 and Telenor), Telia Sverige and Teracom have all be approved to participate in the 3.5 GHz and 2.3 GHz auctions. PTS is offering up to 15 nationwide licenses in the 3.5 GHz band, incorporating a maximum 320 megahertz of frequencies, and up to 80 megahertz in the 2.3 GHz range.

All participating operators must now remove Huawei and ZTE gear from existing central functions – that is the radio access network, transmission network, core network and the service and maintenance of the network – by January 1, 2025.

Next month will mark a year since Sweden announced that it would delay the allocation of 5G spectrum as it worked on a security review. Since then, the country has introduced new regulations to prevent sabotage of the national network. 

However, over this time roll outs didn’t come to a complete standstill and Swedish operators have still managed to introduce initial 5G services.

Public 5G was launched in Sweden in May as Tele2, 3 Sweden and Telia Company - with its renewable, Ericsson powered network - all switched on services. In June, Mobile operator Three activated networks in Malmö, Helsingborg, Lund, Västerås, Uppsala and large parts of Stockholm.

At the time, Per Stigenberg, technical director at Three Sweeden, said: “This is the first step where we use the frequency spectrum we already have access to. After the real 5G frequencies become available around the turn of the year, our customers will be able to get significantly faster speeds.”

Looking forward to the official auction, PTS has issued four conditions for those who wish to bid for a 5G licence:

  • 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 dependent 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.

The US, which announced its Huawei ban  earlier this year, is now planning to offer aid to "developing countries" to help fund non-Chinese alternatives for 5G. According to reports today in British newspaper The Telegraph, countries are also being advised not to use China-backed finance options for such projects. As Capacity has reported, the US has already warned Brazil not to source its 5G equipment from China. 

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