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Ericsson CEO reportedly lobbies Swedish government about Huawei again

Börje Ekholm seems to be persisting with his counter-intuitive campaign on behalf of arch-rival kit vendor Huawei.

Back in October Sweden decided to indulge the US by unilaterally banning Chinese vendors from its 5G networks. However, it did so in such a slap-dash way Huawei soon found legal grounds to challenge the decision and now it’s being reviewed.

Apparently lacking confidence in his own country’s jurisprudence, Ericsson CEO Ekholm soon decided to put his weight behind the legal challenge by having a public moan about the original decision. Since the review was already underway when Ekholm made his comments, it’s easy to interpret the move as an attempt to influence its outcome.

Now paywalled Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter reports, via Bloomberg, that Ekholm has even taken to directly hassling government ministers on the matter, implying he thinks this will ultimately be a political, as opposed to legal, decision. The minister in question was quick to stress that she would never dream of poking her nose into the matter, but Ericsson did confirm to Bloomberg that Ekholm had been in touch with her.

Ekholm’s continued attempts to influence this process raise many questions. Of course he’s concerned about reciprocal action against his company in China, where Ericsson still does a lot of business, but he made his point back in November. You have to wonder whether the Chinese state has urged him to do more and (presumably) leak the fact that he has.

Nobody can fault Ekholm for doing his job and trying to protect his company’s interests, but his continued attempts to lobby on behalf of Huawei are becoming bizarre. Since his position on this issue has been a matter of public record for months, what purpose can reiterating that stance via the media possibly serve other than to virtue signal to the Chinese Communist Party?


13 comments

  1. Avatar Adrian Barnard 04/01/2021 @ 4:36 pm

    Surely its entirely possible that the actualite of Ekholms lobbying is more about clarifying, improving and strengthening the Swedesh States ban on Huawei?

    • Scott Bicheno Scott Bicheno 04/01/2021 @ 4:41 pm

      It’s possible, but why make it public?

  2. Avatar Enrique 04/01/2021 @ 5:32 pm

    This Telecoms.com mailing list is taking much a pro-huawei side.
    I’m seeing a lot of comments about people who ban Huawei but almost none about Huawei’s practices, nor about China’s bans.

    I wonder …

    • Scott Bicheno Scott Bicheno 05/01/2021 @ 9:09 am

      Look harder

  3. Avatar B 04/01/2021 @ 6:44 pm

    Ericsson has 11.25% of the market in China. Current US restrictions on Huawei may increase Ericsson’s share. Chinese government announced it is going to build 600,000 5G base stations in 2021.
    Sweden is a ten million country, while China is a 1.4 billion. The capital does not have a home, it moves towards the biggest profit.

  4. Avatar Alvaro 04/01/2021 @ 9:19 pm

    There is a huge concern in Chinese equipment providers takes control of network in Europe .. No one like that Chinese take over access to personal data. The respect on Swedish equipment is well established and unfortunately will take a long way before chinese reach the level of human right respect. under any domain

  5. Avatar Tarek Makhzoum 04/01/2021 @ 9:32 pm

    He is correct 100%, as decision has made politically not legally at all.
    Plus the most stupid act when European countries follow US as cheeps with no objection as they are just slaves; and have no independence at all, such a shame.

  6. Avatar Graeme B 04/01/2021 @ 11:33 pm

    It’s clear he does not want Ericsson banned in China with a tit for tat response by the CCP. If he goes public the CCP see he is working for them as opposed to doing it quietly and the CCP taking his word that he is trying on their behalf. Not sure that it will work as the CCP like to make examples of people, organisations and even countries. Look at how they are closing down business with Australia because Australia had the temerity to be the first to block Huawei / ZTE and then stop purchases of strategic assets and covert political influences by the CCP. God help those countries and politicians who signed up for Belt & Road they risk being squeezed dry.

  7. Avatar Simon Chiu 05/01/2021 @ 9:48 am

    What is the problem with that when there has been for months, if not years, and no one is able to produce a shred of evidence that Huawei is unsafe? If you think Huawei is unsafe, and not because you are jealous of a Chinese achievement, show me the evidence.

  8. Avatar Kato 05/01/2021 @ 8:13 pm

    For months there’s no evidence that Huawei is unsafe….and as it stands….yes I agree that Ericsson doesn’t want to lose business in China but also, shutting down Huawei it means there’s no more aggressive competition which in turn might slow down the growth of new technologies especially in the telecom industry.
    I don’t think that he has Beijing’s back on this

  9. Avatar YMCA 05/01/2021 @ 9:30 pm

    Maybe because he realised the Huawei ban was unfair trade practice.

  10. Avatar Susie 05/01/2021 @ 11:06 pm

    For security reasons, China can ban Disney & Hollywood films, because US exports its culture. China can ban Mcdonald, KFC, Pizza hut those fast food, because they make Chinese obesity. They can ban tesla, it has connections with NASA… So either win win or lose lose

    • Avatar Himan 06/01/2021 @ 12:16 am

      They can, but they won’t because they like them ☺️ But anything else they can dispense with, they will.

      They won’t ban anything that they need. Volkswagen cars and Ericsson gear give them access to high tech and a foot in the door with EU.

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