Huawei appeals Swedish court decision over 5G network exclusion

FILE PHOTO: Huawei logo is pictured on the headquarters building in Reading, Britain July 14, 2020. REUTERS/Matthew Childs/File Photo

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Huawei has appealed against a court decision that allowed Swedish telecoms regulator PTS to resume 5G spectrum auctions when the Chinese telecom equipment maker is excluded from the country’s 5G rollout. A Swedish court on Dec. 16 backed an appeal by PTS against a ruling to stop the auctions, but also said Huawei could pursue a legal challenge over its exclusion.

“Huawei has on January 5 lodged an appeal to the supreme administrative court,” the company said in a statement, adding that PTS’ conditions in practice exclude it from the Swedish market as the regulator decided on them without giving Huawei a chance to respond, in conflict with basic European principles.

PTS said on Dec. 18 that it would resume 5G spectrum auctions on Jan. 19, after a challenge from Huawei led to a court injunction that prevented them going ahead.

“There seems to be no willingness by PTS to revisit their decision,” Kenneth Fredriksen, Huawei’s Executive Vice President, Central East Europe and Nordic Region, told Reuters, after meeting with the telecoms regulator earlier on Thursday.

“We believe it’s critical that the auction is once again stopped until the legal uncertainties are removed, either through court settlement or out of court settlements,” he said.

A PTS spokesman did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The United States has pressured allies to ban Huawei equipment from 5G networks, alleging Beijing could use it for spying. Huawei has repeatedly denied it would allow this to happen.

Sweden said in October it would ban Huawei and Chinese rival ZTE from its 5G rollout due to security risks. It gave companies taking part in 5G auctions until Jan. 1, 2025, to remove those companies’ gear from existing infrastructure and core functions.

Huawei told Reuters in December it was willing to meet any requirement the Swedish government may set on 5G network equipment and take other measures to mitigate concerns.

Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee and Helena Soderpalm; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Barbara Lewis