Sweden is banning Huawei and ZTE from its 5G networks

Swedish regulators are banning the China-based tech companies Huawei and ZTE from constructing the infrastructure of Sweden’s 5G networks. The announcement follows previous bans this year against Huawei in the United States and the United Kingdom, fearing that the Chinese government-run companies will jeopardize their national securities if they construct their respective 5G high-speed networks.

The Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS), announcing the news in a Tuesday press release, said that the four companies jockeying for licenses to build up 5G in the nordic country are prohibited from using equipment from Huawei and ZTE on national security grounds. According to the PTS, these updated conditions to receive a license was informed by assessments made by the Swedish Armed Forces and the Swedish Security Service.

“New installations and new implementation of central functions for the radio use in the frequency bands must not be carried out with products from the suppliers Huawei or ZTE,” the authority stated.

“The licence holder shall take necessary technical and organizational actions to safeguard that the radio use according to the licence does not cause harm to Sweden’s security,” the PTS added.

Understanding that some bidders for the license may already use products from both Chinese tech suppliers, the telecom authority added the caveat that license holders must phase out the reliance on such products.

“If existing infrastructure for central functions is to be used to provide services in the concerned frequency bands,” the press release said, “products from Huawei and ZTE must be phased out 1 January 2025 at the latest.”

Additionally, “if central functions are dependant of staff or functions placed in foreign countries,” the statement continued, “such dependencies must be phased out and, if necessary, be replaced by functions or staff placed in Sweden. This must be completed by 1 January 2025.”

According to the Associated Press, Huawei responded to the news, saying that it was “surprised and disappointed” by the change.

As for the rest of the European Union, a similar ban on Huawei appears less likely. Back in January, however, the European Union passed legislation that limits Huawei’s role on the continent and to make its 5G network more independent. The U.S. has been adamantly lobbying the E.U. to introduce a similar hard ban, but many E.U. member states have disagreed with how to tackle Huawei and 5G.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.