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UPDATE 1-Czech telecoms group CETIN chooses Ericsson for 5G network

(Adds CETIN comment, details)

PRAGUE, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Czech telecoms network operator CETIN will use technology from Swedish group Ericsson to build next-generation 5G networks, CETIN said on Monday.

CETIN, part of investment group PPF, which also holds 81% in mobile operator O2 Czech Republic, is the first Czech network to signal its choice for building the new system.

Finland’s Nokia and China’s Huawei are other network gear makers. However, the United States has urged allies to boycott Huawei equipment, alleging it could be used by Beijing for spying, which Huawei strongly denies.

A CETIN spokeswoman said Ericsson won a tender, but did not give details.

“We will release more details as soon as we finalise the remaining legal formalities,” Klara Zavadilova said, confirming an earlier statement on the choice by PPF board member Vladimir Mlynar on Twitter.

PPF is owned by Petr Kellner, the richest Czech whose vast holdings in the financial and real estate sectors, among others, also include consumer lender Home Credit, which has a strong presence in China.

Czech cyber security watchdog NUKIB called Huawei’s products a security threat in December 2018.

President Milos Zeman, however, has pushed closer ties with China.

The central European country is starting an auction for 5G frequencies, hoping to attract a fourth operator to compete with O2 Czech Republic, T-Mobile and Vodafone. (Reporting by Robert Muller, writing by Jason Hovet, editing by Louise Heavens and Mark Potter)