Ericsson and Nokia ready to step in after U.K. bans Huawei 5G
Network equipment providers Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson and Nokia Corp., Huawei Technology Co.’s biggest competitors, said they are fit to step in after the U.K. declared it phasing out the Chinese telecom giant from its 5G network.
“We have the capacity and expertise to replace all the Huawei equipment in the U.K.’s networks at scale and speed,”
Nokia CEO for the U.K. and Ireland Cormac Whelan said Tuesday in a statement.
Ericsson echoed that stance in a separate statement.
“We stand ready to work with the U.K. operators to meet their timetable,
with no disruption to customers,”
said Arun Bansal, president of Europe and Latin America at Ericsson.
Both companies stressed that they were already established in the U.K. and experienced in building 5G networks.
The U.K.’s digital minister Oliver Dowden announced Tuesday that
“from the end of this year, (telecom) providers must not buy any 5G equipment from Huawei.”
Dowden added that they should strip all existing Huawei gear out “by 2027.”
As two of the major competitors to Huawei, the companies have been enjoying a U.S. push to have countries avoid Huawei.
The U.S. government has claimed that Huawei — founded by former Chinese army engineer Ren Zhengfei —
is a security risk and has urged allies to shun its equipment over fears it
could serve as a Trojan horse for Chinese intelligence services.
Dowden said finding new entrants would start with South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co.
and Japan’s NEC Corp., while they would protect Nokia and Ericsson as existing players.
Huawei, who is the sector leader in terms of market share, has always denied links to the Chinese government.
But the move threatens to further damage Britain’s ties with the Asian power and carries
an enormous cost for U.K. mobile providers that have relied on Huawei equipment for nearly 20 years.
Huawei called it “politicized” and likely to put Britain “in the digital slow lane.”
China’s Ambassador in London, Liu Xiaoming, called it a “disappointing and wrong decision.”
“It has become questionable whether the U.K. can provide an open,
fair and nondiscriminatory business environment for companies from other countries,”
he wrote on Twitter.
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