Another state, Sweden, announced the ban of Chinese tech companies Huawei and ZTE from building its 5G network infrastructure.
The Swedish Post and Telecom Authority announced this week that four wireless carriers bidding for frequencies in an upcoming spectrum auction for the new 5G networks (Hi3G Access, Net4Mobility, Telia Sverige and Teracom) cannot use network equipment from the Chinese firms.
The Swedish telecom regulator is also urging carriers to replace any existing equipment from Huawei or ZTE by January 1st, 2025, at the latest.
The decision is the result of assessments made by the Swedish military and security service.
“In accordance with new legislation, which entered into force on 1 January 2020, an examination of applications has been conducted in consultation with the Swedish Armed Forces and the Swedish Security Service, to ensure that the use of radio equipment in these bands does not cause harm to Sweden´s security.” reads a press release published by the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority.
The ban aims at new installations and new implementation of central functions for the radio use in the frequency bands.
Sweden is the latest country to ban Huawei from participating in building 5G networks.
Recently Belgian telecoms operators Orange Belgium and Proximus announced that it will gradually replace the equipment from the Chinese manufacturer Huawei.
The U.S. is pushing its allies for banning Huawei, ZTE and other Chinese companies, Washington highlighted the risks for national security in case of adoption of Huawei equipment and is urging internet providers and telco operators in allied countries to ban Chinese firms.
The Chinese giant was already excluded by several countries from building their 5G internet networks. The United States, Australia, New Zealand, Romania, and Japan announced the exclusion of Huawei technology for their 5G internet networks.
In April 2018, the UK GCHQ intelligence agency warned UK telcos firms of the risks of using ZTE equipment and services for their infrastructure.
In December 2018, a Czech cyber-security agency is warned against using Huawei and ZTE technologies because they pose a threat to state security.
In September, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) estimated the cost of a full replacement of all Huawei and ZTE hardware on American wireless networks at $1.837bn.
Klas Friberg, the head of Sweden’s domestic security service (SAPO) declared that foreign states have intensified their intelligence activity and the protection of 5G networks from cyber espionage and hacking campaign from threat actors is crucial for homeland security.
“China is one of the biggest threats to Sweden,” Friberg said. “The Chinese state is conducting cyber espionage to promote its own economic development and develop its military capabilities. This is done through extensive intelligence gathering and theft of technology, research and development. This is what we must consider when building the 5G network of the future.”
Huawei was “surprised and disappointed” by the decision of the Swedish authority.
“Huawei has never caused even the slightest shred of threat to Swedish cyber security and never will,” reads a statement from the Chinese giant Huawei. “Excluding Huawei will not make Swedish 5G networks any more secure. Rather, competition and innovation will be severely hindered.
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(SecurityAffairs – hacking, 5G)