Greenland says not considering Huawei for 5G rollout, sticking with Ericsson

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Greenland does not plan to consider China's Huawei [HWT.UL] for supplying equipment for its 5G telecoms network and will instead stick with its current telecoms provider Ericsson ERICb.ST, state telecoms operator Tele Greenland said on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: An Ericsson logo is pictured at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Shanghai, China June 28, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

The decision comes as the United States pushes allies to exclude Huawei from 5G deals, and after President Donald Trump in August offered to buy Greenland from Denmark as part of a broader strategic push into the Arctic.

Tele Greenland has yet to set a date for the rollout of 5G networks on the Arctic island, an autonomous part of Denmark.

“(Tele Greenland) doesn’t consider Huawei as a supplier of 5G network upgrade,” the company said in a statement.

A Huawei spokeswoman in Denmark said the company was not aware of any plans for 5G rollout in Greenland.

“Huawei has no mobile network business in Greenland and had no plans to participate in any 5G rollout in Greenland,” she said.

Ericsson has already supplied Greenland’s 4G network. Greenland’s national broadcaster KNR on Wednesday quoted Tele Greenland’s Chief Executive Kristian Reinert Davidsen as saying the Swedish company also will be picked for 5G.

“It’s hard to say which network is best,” Davidsen told KNR. “We just found that Ericsson was the right choice for us based on all the parameters. It was from an overall point of view, and I can’t say if one is safer than the other.”

Tele Greenland’s decision had been made after considering issues like “quality, price and security in the broadest sense,” the company’s chairman Stine Bosse told Reuters.

A spokeswoman for the Swedish company declined to comment on future plans for 5G rollout in Greenland, but said Tele Greenland is “an important customer” and that its current 4G network in Greenland is based upon Ericsson’s 5G ready products.

Fearing high-tech espionage, and battling with China over trade, the United States has pushed allies to exclude Huawei from lucrative 5G deals. Huawei has denied its equipment can be used for spying.

Last week, Norway's Telenor TEL.OL picked Ericsson as the key technology provider of the country's 5G network.

Earlier this year, privately held Danish telecoms operator TDC also picked Ericsson over Huawei for its 5G network. TDC said it was a commercial decision, but that it “was not blind” to widespread concerns about Huawei and information security.

Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen, additional reporting by Nikolaj Skydsgaard; Editing by Jason Neely and Mark Potter