Sweden halts 5G spectrum auctions as local court grants relief to Huawei – Chinadaily.com.cn

The stand of Huawei Technologies Co at the 2020 China Hi-Tech Forum in Shenzhen, Guangdong province. [Photo byXuan Hui/For China Daily]

The Swedish Post and Telecom Authority has halted 5G spectrum auctions after a local court allowed Huawei Technologies Co to appeal the decision to exclude the Chinese tech giant from the nation’s 5G mobile network.

Analysts said the move indicates that the Swedish government is evaluating whether it is worthwhile to mix geopolitical factors into decisions concerning normal commercial technology cooperation and it is a somewhat good news for Huawei which is working hard to maintain its presence in Europe despite all the US government restrictions.

Sweden’s PTS had announced a ban last month on the use of telecom equipment from Huawei and ZTE, another Chinese telecom company, in its 5G networks, citing national security concerns. Huawei said such accusations do not have any foundations.

Last week, Huawei appealed against the decision in the Stockholm administrative court. Later, the court said certain parts of PTS’ decision will not apply until further notice, which would allow Huawei’s involvement in Sweden’s 5G spectrum auction which was originally scheduled for Tuesday.

Xiang Ligang, director-general of the Information Consumption Alliance, a telecom industry advocacy group, said PTS decided to halt the 5G spectrum auctions, which indicates that multiple forces are involved in the decision-making process.

According to him, the Swedish authorities should have known that if the ban continues, it will increase the costs of local telecom operators, slow down the rollout of 5G networks in the nation and hamper the interests of local consumers.

Kenneth Fredriksen, Huawei’s executive vice-president of Central East Europe and Nordic Region, told Reuters that Huawei has no plan for more legal action at this point and is waiting to have constructive dialogue with the Swedish authorities.

Dong Yifan, an independent expert on European issues, said it is still too early and too optimistic to say that Sweden will revise its ban on Huawei simply because of a court decision, but the latest developments do suggest that it is putting more thought into the ban.

Catherine Chen, Huawei’s corporate senior vice-president and director of the board, said last week that during the past two decades, Huawei has contributed a lot to the development of the local information and communications technology industry in Europe, creating value and promoting digital ecosystems.

“Today, despite the challenges brought by COVID-19 and the uncertainties in our macro-environment, we are as determined as ever to be in Europe and for Europe,” Chen said.

In 2019, Huawei contributed 16.4 billion euros ($19.5 billion) to Europe’s GDP and supported 224,300 jobs, according to a report released by research agency Oxford Economics. The report said that Huawei generated 6.6 billion euros in tax revenues for European authorities during 2019.

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