Pentagon eyeing 5G solutions with Huawei rivals Ericsson and Nokia: official

FILE PHOTO: People walk past a sign board of Huawei at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) Asia 2016 in Shanghai, China May 12, 2016. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - As the U.S. further pushes to separate itself from Chinese telecommunications equipment maker Huawei Technologies, the Pentagon is laying the groundwork to use technology from rivals Nokia and Ericsson in its 5G development plans, a Pentagon official said on Monday.

“I am not sure we are going to have a total U.S. solution,” Ellen Lord, the Department of Defense’s under secretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment said. “We are talking to Ericsson, we are talking to Nokia quite a bit.”

Simultaneously, the U.S. is laying the groundwork to develop its own technology to support 5G enabled communications, said Lord, who is the Pentagon’s chief weapon’s buyer.

The United States has lobbied Europe to shut out Huawei, saying its equipment could be used by the Chinese government for espionage. But the European Commission is expected to ignore U.S. calls to ban Huawei Technologies.

Huawei has strongly rejected the allegations and earlier this month sued the U.S. government over the issue.

At the same time, Lord said that military to military discussions about future 5G networks were going well for the United States. On the military side, “there is actually a huge dialog going on about what is the path forward,” Lord said. “We have frankly seen a lot of our European allies leaning forward to work with us on that.”

Reporting by Mike Stone in Washington, D.C.; Editing by Chris Reese