Telenor picks Ericsson for 5G, abandoning Huawei

Cornelia Mascio
Dicembre 15, 2019

Telenor has picked Sweden's Ericsson as the key technology provider for its fifth-generation (5G) telecoms network in Norway, it said on Friday, gradually removing China's Huawei after a decade of collaboration over 4G.

The company signaled it would gradually remove Huawei equipment as it upgrades radio gear for the next generation of mobile networks, in a move likely to please the USA, which has been lobbying European allies to sideline the Chinese company over cyberespionage concerns.

"As the first mobile operator on 5G in Scandinavia, Telenor will ramp up the roll out of 5G to our customers in Norway in 2020".

In a win for Huawei, German carrier Telefonica Deutschland said this week that it chose Huawei and Finland's Nokia to jointly supply equipment for the less-sensitive 5G radio network, with a decision on suppliers for the core due next year.

Telecommunications experts see Huawei as a leader in 5G technology in terms of both technology and price.

Huawei for its part has always maintained that its equipment poses no security risk and it has even offered full access to its equipment.

The decision came after Norwegian intelligence agencies warned that Huawei was too close to the Chinese government, reflecting U.S. calls for its allies to ban Huawei from future networks for fear it could aid Chinese espionage efforts. Norway has such co-operation with neighbours Sweden and Finland, but not with China.

"The 5G era is here".

"Based on a comprehensive and holistic assessment, we have made a decision to introduce a new partner for this significant technology change in Norway", he said in a statement.

"When selecting the vendor for the radio access network, we have considered important factors like technical quality, ability to innovate and modernise the network, commercial terms and conditions, as well as carried out an extensive security evaluation", Telenor Chief Executive Officer Sigve Brekke said.

State-controlled Telenor is Norway's biggest telecom provider, and is active in the rest of the Nordic region as well as five Asian countries, serving some 183 million customers. The modernisation of the RAN, which now uses entirely Huawei kit, is expected to take 4-5 years.

Two smaller firms, Ice and Telia, have picked Nokia and Ericsson respectively for their Norwegian 5G networks.

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