Swedish Telecom Giant Ericsson Pressures Government to Overturn Huawei Ban

Swedish telecom company Ericsson pressured a Swedish minister to reverse the ban on Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE’s involvement in Sweden’s 5G deployment in order to uphold its position in China’s telecom market, local media Dagens Nyheter reported.

Ericsson’s CEO Borje Ekholm lobbied Sweden’s Foreign Trade Minister Anna Hallberg in a series of phone messages, according to the Swedish newspaper, to review an order by the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS) that Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE be removed from the countries existing 5G infrastructure by January 2025. 

Bloomberg reported, citing Dagens Nyheter, that Hallberg said she had not had any contact with PTS and would never step in as minister and influence the decisions of individual authorities.

Jacob Wallenberg, deputy chair of Ericsson’s board of directors, said that “stopping Huawei is definitely not good,” according to an interview in the same newspaper on Dec. 25. As 10% of its sales are derived from China, and retaliatory measures from the world’s biggest 5G market could be crippling for the Swedish company. 

China’s extensive construction and deployment of 5G networks have brought substantial profits to Ericsson. Carl Mellander, the CFO of the Swedish telecom equipment manufacturer, said in October that China’s massive deployment of 5G networks had become the company’s biggest driving force. As of now, Ericsson is the only foreign telecom provider to have obtained orders from all three major communication service providers in China, China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile. It has 11.4% shares in China Mobile’s 5G base stations, signaling its market shares at approximately 10% in China’s 5G market at large. 

SEE ALSO: UK Bans Huawei From its 5G Network

Sweden is the second European country to completely ban the use of Huawei equipment after the UK ban last July. Ericsson and Finland’s Nokia are Huawei’s main foreign rivals in the supply of 5G equipment and infrastructure.