Ericsson CEO criticises Swedish Huawei ban

Börje Ekholm, CEO of Swedish kit vendor Ericsson, has spoken out against Sweden’s decision to ban Chinese vendors from being used in the country’s 5G networks.

Ekholm expressed his counter-intuitive position during an interview with the FT. His main problem seems to be with Sweden’s decision to deviate from the EU toolbox, which recommends member states take measures to mitigate risk to their 5G networks rather than banning vendors entirely. “I do think that framework is a good one,” Ekholm told the FT. “This is their own interpretation of the toolbox.”

Spoken like the proper collectivist Swedes are presumed to be, but that instinct doesn’t seem to apply to supranational bodies. It should also be noted that the EU doesn’t seem to have updated its toolbox since the start of this year, so it doesn’t take account of the additional security concerns that caused many European countries to harden their stance on Chinese network vendors in the middle of the year.

“For Ericsson and Sweden, we’re built on free trade,” said Ekholm. “We’re built on the opportunity to trade freely… From my perspective it is important that we have open markets and free competition.” That’s a good point and the precedent set by unilaterally banning companies from certain countries is a troubling one. It’s also legally weak, as indicated by the Swedish decision to review the decision following a challenge by Huawei.

Ekholm concluded by saying all the right things about competition and the importance of Europe not falling behind on 5G, but we suspect his words were meant mainly for Chinese consumption. Ericsson still has considerable interests in the Chinese market and a tit-for-tat ban on it by the Chinese government would be very damaging.

So, while Ekholm’s points about due process and competition are well made, this is also a pragmatic move to placate vengeful Chinese politicians. Huawei has done a good job of painting many European bans as resulting from US diplomatic pressure and it will be interesting to see what position a new administration will have on the matter.

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  1. Avatar Alvaro 18/11/2020 @ 2:52 pm

    Ekholm, surely can share your understanding in having a fair competition. The sad reality goes in opposite direction. It should more transparency on trade from China, strongly improvement on human right, and starting to create an accelerating programme to build a professionalism in Huawei leaders that is totally missed.

    • Avatar Omer Mir 19/11/2020 @ 1:50 pm

      Choice is obvious my friends. You WILL be spied upon by U.S or China. It’s your choice simply.
      Don’t believe me. Read Snowden’s report.
      Everyone spies on everyone else. No angels in this game.
      Personally I don’t care.
      All Governments have enough resources to neutralize any threat like this. Americans think Chinese an outsmart them. Maybe True…
      Keep ordinary beings out of this.

      • Avatar Mrs 20/11/2020 @ 12:01 pm

        That is so true. Don’t forget Russia.

  2. Avatar Anon 18/11/2020 @ 3:25 pm

    The EU might reassess its toolbox starting 6 Jan and discard the biggest item on the risk register on 20 Jan.

  3. Avatar B 18/11/2020 @ 7:55 pm

    Majority of Ericsson profit comes from China, where it has 11.25% of the market. If China adopted the same approach as Sweden, Ericsson would be banned, but the Chinese understand the importance of market competition in 5G. However, some other form of response to Swedish ban is still possible.
    EU is already lagging behind in new technologies, its economy is forecasted to sink by over 8% due to the pandemics. It should make decisions wisely, not blindly following Washington, because the Euro doesn’t have the same status as the greenback.

    • Avatar Cletus the Clown 19/11/2020 @ 1:01 pm

      Sorry. That isn’t true at all. I suggest you look through the most recent financial report.

    • Avatar DD 22/11/2020 @ 6:14 pm

      Simply your statements are not true about where from Ericsson revenues are coming.

  4. Avatar Shafiki 18/11/2020 @ 10:07 pm

    Europe should take independent minded decisions other than being coerced by the bullying so called Ally who fear competition, no longer in position to invent and renovate apart from warmongering allover the world !But now the world is more aware of their agenda of new world order which has been completely dismantled by Russia and China and like minded countries,let us compare the neighbours of China and USA interms of economic standards and we see which country is helping it’s neighbours to reduce poverty by making developmental infrastructure which can alleviate poverty. Venezuela, Cuba ,Mexico instead of helping these economies u a just stealing their resources, u plotted a coup In Bolivia but u failed to sustain the government u brought in power! Do u know what it means ur an empire in decline, Trump’s foreign policy has achieved nothing apt from making Russian and China More stronger to handle

  5. Avatar Ida 19/11/2020 @ 8:43 am

    Criticise China and Chinese government for any of their policy you think that is nok, if you can…can you? No. Then shut your mouth up please.

  6. Avatar Cletus the Clown 19/11/2020 @ 12:59 pm

    Hahaha. He has his contracts in China he wants to keep in tact. He’s not dumb.
    The Swedish government won’t be u-turning.

  7. Avatar xyz 19/11/2020 @ 1:52 pm

    ask yourself why those ceos and other mfuckers enforcing 5g stupid cows…vaccines and more migrants and orher polotical problems.. now we are their problems… thats mafia people dont thrust this system it made by satan himself, ther are no real human in those entities, and they are washing human eyes with good thing about 5g and vaccine propaganda

  8. Avatar caractacus 20/11/2020 @ 1:27 pm

    Another corporation tries to subvert national economic security of its home nation because its only loyalty is to its shareholders’ profits. These people and the Chinese govt talk a lot about free trade when China does the opposite to free trade, imposing a playing field inclined hugely in China’s favour, barriers to foreign business, coercing them to hand over their technology whenceforth they steal and copy it, pushing foreign companies out of business. Free trade my foot.

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