No in the US and no in Florida to Huawei’s security appeals

No in the US and no in Florida to Huawei’s security appeals

23 June 2021 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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Huawei has lost two court appeals within a few days that together set back its desire to return to supplying European and US telcos with its equipment.

A Swedish court yesterday upheld a ban on the Chinese company selling its 5G equipment to operators in the country.

And on Friday a US federal appeals court in Florida refused to hear the company’s request that would allow rural phone carriers using government funds to buy its equipment.

The Stockholm appeal followed a decision last year by the regulator, Post- och telestyrelsen (PTS) that no company with Huawei kit in its system could bid for 5G licences.

The PTS’s ruling was supported in January by the Administrative Court of Appeal, which said it could resume 5G spectrum auctions without removing an earlier ban on Huawei. And now an appeal court has upheld that decision.

The court said, according to the Reuters news agency: “Sweden’s security is an important reason and the administrative court has taken into account that only the security police and the armed forces together have an overall picture regarding the security situation and the threat against Sweden.”

Kenneth Fredriksen, Huawei’s executive VP for central east Europe and the Nordic region, said the company “will now evaluate and analyse the ruling, its consequences for Huawei’s operations in Sweden and how we can best continue to take advantage of Huawei’s and our customers’ rights and work for our right to continue to be part of the Swedish market”.

The decision means that Ericsson fears it will face retaliation in the Chinese market.

In Florida, the federal appeals court also cited national security grounds for its decision to uphold the ban on Huawei receiving support from the Universal Service Fund for purchases by rural operators.

Huawei claimed the regulator, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), was not competent to judge security risks — even though it is part of Team Telecom, the Washington grouping of government agencies that assesses just that.

The Florida judges dismissed Huawei’s claim by saying: “Assessing security risks to telecom networks falls in the FCC’s wheelhouse.”