Regulator halts Swedish 5G auction over Huawei ban

Regulator halts Swedish 5G auction after court questions Huawei decision

10 November 2020 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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Huawei has won the first round in a legal battle to allow Swedish operators to continue using its equipment in mobile networks.

The company last week appealed against a decision by the Swedish post and telecoms regulator, Post- och telestyrelsen (PTS), to ban Huawei from 5G networks, and now the regulator has suspended parts of its decision.

The Reuters news agency says “certain parts” of PTS’s decision to block bidders that are using Huawei kit “will not apply until further notice”, citing a ruling by the Stockholm administrative court.

Kenneth Fredriksen (pictured), Huawei’s executive vice president for central east Europe and Nordic region, told Reuters that Huawei will not take further action at the moment. “We are willing to cooperate fully in terms of any future requirements they [Swedish authorities] may put as a supplier of 5G equipment that will enable us to be a certified vendor,” he told the agency.

PTS said last month that it had approved four companies to bid for 2.3GHz and 3.5GHz auctions for 5G services: Hi3G Access, part of CK Hutchison’s local Three company; Net4Mobility, which operates networks for Telenor Sweden and Tele2 Sweden; Telia; and Teracom, a Swedish state-owned company that owns all Swedish and Danish broadcast transmission sites.

But PTS said that they could not bid with Huawei equipment, and had to remove any existing Huawei or ZTE equipment by 1 January 2025.

Last week Fredriksen said: “We think the decision that has been taken is not good for customers nor for Sweden in general. … We therefore want a Swedish court to look at if the decision has been taken through a proper process and according to the law.”

Earlier he had posted on LinkedIn: “We can’t change the fact that we are an international company that was founded in China. … We have, during our 20 years in Sweden, only been contributing with safe and high quality digital infrastructure and we want to continue our mission for Sweden.”

According to Reuters, senior judge Johan Lundmark told the administrative court: “The decision granting a stay means that the terms concerning, among other things, the use of products from Huawei until further notice do not apply during the Administrative Court’s continued deliberation of the case.”