Sweden halts 5G auction after court accepts Huawei’s appeal

The Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS) decided to put on-hold a 5G spectrum auction scheduled to begin on November 10, after a court in Stockholm issued a ruling suspending parts of its decision that had excluded Chinese vendor Huawei from 5G networks.

“The Administrative Court in Stockholm has decided that the license condition relating to Huawei in the allocation of the 3.5 GHz and 2.3 GHz bands will not apply for the time being,” PTS said in a statement.

“PTS has therefore informed the operators who are approved to participate that the planned auction will not start on November 10. PTS will continue to analyze the administrative court’s decision and review the possibilities of starting the auction as soon as possible.”

Last month, the Swedish regulator said four mobile operators have been approved to take part in an upcoming 5G spectrum auction. Hi3G Access, Net4Mobility, Telia Sverige and Teracom had been approved for participation in the 3.5 GHz and 2.3 GHz auctions.

The regulator also introduced a number of regulations to strengthen the security of future 5G networks in the Nordic country which resulted in a ban for Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE.

“In accordance with new legislation, which entered into force on January 1 2020, an examination of applications has been conducted in consultation with the Swedish Armed Forces and the Swedish Security Service, to ensure that the use of radio equipment in these bands does not cause harm to Sweden’s security,” PTS said.

“PTS has decided on license conditions that address the assessments made by the Swedish Armed Forces and the Swedish Security Service. The license holder shall take necessary technical and organizational actions to safeguard that the radio use according to the license does not cause harm to Sweden’s security.”

PTS highlighted that new installations and new implementation of central functions for the radio use in the frequency bands must not be carried out with products from Chinese vendors Huawei or ZTE. “If existing infrastructure for central functions is to be used to provide services in the concerned frequency bands, products from Huawei and ZTE must be phased out on January 1 2025 at the latest,” PTS added.

Last week, Huawei appealed PTS’s decision arguing its exclusion would not benefit customers or the country in general.

Speaking to Reuters, Kenneth Fredriksen, Huawei’s EVP Central East Europe and Nordic region said the company had no more plans for legal action, but was open to dialogue with the local authorities.

“We are willing to cooperate fully in terms of any future requirements they may put as a supplier of 5G equipment that will enable us to be a certified vendor,” the executive said.

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