Stockholm: Swedish regulators on Tuesday banned the use of Chinese telecommunications equipment Huawei and ZTE in its 5G network ahead of next month’s spectrum auction.
The Swedish Post and Telecommunications Authority (PTS) said the auction for the license terms came after assessments by the Swedish Armed Forces and Security Service.
European governments have re-examined the role of Chinese companies in building their networks in the wake of pressure from the United States, which it says poses a security threat, and among other concerns are companies and citizens, so the Chinese must legally help the state in gathering intelligence.
The Swedish Security Agency described China as “one of the biggest threats against Sweden.”
In July, the UK ordered Huawei equipment to be completely removed from the UK 5G network by 2027, becoming one of the first European countries to do so.
Huawei and ZTE did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the decision from Sweden, which is the home of Ericsson, one of Europe’s leading telecommunications equipment providers.
“The ban leaves operators with fewer options and risks slowing the spread of 5G in markets as competition is reduced,” said Ben Wood, chief research officer at CCS Insight.
The ban is expected to benefit rival telecom equipment manufacturers Ericsson and Nokia in Finland.
PTS said companies participating in the auction should remove Huawei and ZTE equipment from existing centralized jobs by January 1, 2025.
The organizer identified the central functions as the equipment used to build the wireless access network, the transmission network, the core network, and the network service and maintenance.
PTS said the licensing terms were decided to take into account assessments made by the armed forces and security services.
It agreed to participate in Hi3G Access, Net4Mobility, Telia Sverige and Teracom in the planned spectrum auction of 3.5 GHz and 2.3 GHz, which are major bands critical to 5G deployment.
Tele2 and Telenor will partner together on behalf of Net4Mobility to secure a shared 5G network nationwide.
Tele2, which uses Huawei equipment in its network, which it previously described as a major supplier, said the PTS decision “does not significantly change our plans.”
“We may have to arrange the different costs differently from year to year to meet safety requirements on time,” a company spokesman told Reuters.
The 5G spectrum auction was originally scheduled to go ahead in early 2020, but PTS said last year it would postpone the auction due to a security review.
PTS announced in April of this year that the auction would begin in November.