Sweden is banning Chinese tech companies Huawei and ZTE from building new high-speed wireless networks after a top security official called China one of the country's biggest threats. The Swedish telecom regulator said on Tuesday that four wireless carriers bidding for frequencies in an upcoming spectrum auction for the new 5G networks must not use equipment from Huawei or ZTE.
Wireless carriers that plan to use existing telecommunications infrastructure for 5G networks must also rip out any existing gear from Huawei or ZTE, the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority said. The agency said the conditions were based on assessments by the Swedish military and security service. Huawei said it was "surprised and disappointed" by the rules. Sweden is the latest country to prohibit Huawei from playing a role in building 5G networks and its decision is likely to add to tensions between the Chinese government and Western powers.
US officials have waged an intense lobbying campaign in Europe to persuade allies to shun the company, saying Huawei could be compelled by China's communist rulers to facilitate cyber espionage. The company has consistently denied the accusations. The ban means more opportunities for Huawei's main rivals, Swedish company Ericsson and Finland's Nokia.