Sweden has banned the use of Huawei equipment on its 5G network on the 3.5 GHz band. The Stockholm decision joins other European countries that banned the telecom company for national security reasons.

According to the Swedish Telecommunications Authority (PTS), the ban is a consequence of a new law passed in early 2020 following the assessment by military and intelligence authorities to “safeguard that the radio use according to the license does not cause harm to Sweden’s security.”

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the tenders’ authority made it clear that the use of the Chinese company ZTE will not be allowed. Both companies must remove equipment already installed before Jan. 1, 2025.

Goodbye to the Chinese companies

Following the PTS’s announcement, neither Huawei nor ZTE companies can participate in the first tenders for the 5G network (3.5 GHz band) in Sweden to be auctioned in November.

For these frequency auctions, the PTS has selected the operators Hi3G Access (Tre), Net4Mobility (Tele2 and Telenor), Telia Sweden, and Teracom. 

In addition to the formal examination of applications, consultations have been held with the Swedish armed forces and security agencies to ensure that the infrastructure’s use does not jeopardize the country’s security.

“The influence of the one-party state on the country’s private sector implies strong pressure on companies to act under the state objectives and national strategies of the Chinese Communist Party,” the agency said in justifying its veto of Chinese suppliers.

The agency adds that in this context the Swedish security forces consider the CCP and its intelligence service “can influence and put pressure” on Huawei and ZTE.

Europe joins the United States and turns its back on the Chinese Communist Party

With this measure, Stockholm joins other European countries and nations such as Australia and Japan—that have prohibited the installation of equipment by Huawei, the company accused of having close ties with the People’s Liberation Army of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

In France, the Chinese equipment manufacturer will not be subject to a total ban on the 5G mobile internet market. Still, operators already using Huawei will have operating licenses limited to eight years.

This month, the Orange and Proximus companies, dispensing with Huawei, chose Nokia to provide them with the equipment and infrastructure necessary to build 5G networks in Belgium.

While Italy has not yet banned Huawei—and has joined the One Band, One Route initiative last year—its primary telecommunications operator has decided not to use the Chinese company’s 5G equipment.

In early September, Telecom Italia’s CEO, Luigi Guibitosi, said there would be no problem developing 5G even if Huawei were banned. According to a report by the South China Morning Post, he said that its leading partner is Sweden’s Ericsson.

Also, Germany—a country with strong business ties with China is trying to introduce new rules to ensure the security of 5G networks that would amount to a de facto exclusion of the Chinese company, according to the SCMP.

The National Defence Committee of the British Parliament stated this month that there is clear evidence that the company headed by Ren Zhengfei is in collusion with the CCP and therefore represents a threat to the country’s security.

That is why he urged Boris Johnson’s government to withdraw all telecommunications company equipment by 2025.

In July, the Prime Minister had ordered Huawei to leave Britain’s 5G networks by 2027 amid fears of espionage and sabotage and following harsh U.S. sanctions against the company that affects its supply of updated chips.

However, the defense committee said the purge should take place two years earlier, even if such action means a financial penalty.

They said the world’s leading democracies should align to counter the threat from the CCP and other dictatorships around the world.

“The Committee supports the proposal to form a D10 alliance, consisting of ten of the world’s largest democracies, to provide alternatives to Chinese technology and to combat the technological dominance of authoritarian states,” the report said.

“The West must urgently unite to advance a counterweight to China’s tech dominance,” added Committee Chairman Tobias Ellwood.

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