Thursday, 19 November 2020 10:27

Huawei Australia uses Ericsson chief's statement to slam 5G ban Featured

Huawei Australia uses Ericsson chief's statement to slam 5G ban Pixabay

A media statement by Ericsson chief executive Borje Ekholm to the effect that vendors should not be banned from 5G without properly balancing national security concerns with free competition has been hailed by Huawei Australia as a "welcome injection of common sense”.

In a statement, Jeremy Mitchell, the chief corporate affairs officer at Huawei Australia, pointed out that Ekholm had told London’s Financial Times on Wednesday: “For Ericsson and Sweden, we're built on free trade. We're built on the opportunity to trade freely . . . From my perspective it is important that we have open markets and free competition.

"I belong in that category that believes competition makes us longer term a better company. It may be painful shorter term but longer term it drives us to be more innovative and make better products for our customers.

"The Americans and Chinese rolled out 4G fastest and the app economy for consumers is now dominated by American and Chinese firms... 5G is going to be the same, but for enterprise. Slowing the rollout of 5G is a risk for the economy. Europe risks falling behind again."

Mitchell said Ekholm had also supported the European Union’s approach to 5G which discourages the banning of vendors on grounds of their nationality, but tells member states to take an evidence-based approach.

Ekholm was quoted as saying, "I do think that framework is a good one", adding that although Ericsson and Huawei were fierce competitors the companies collaborated on crucial industry standards and this should continue as a matter of importance.

Said Mitchell: "We warmly welcome the comments made by Ekholm on the need for national security concerns to be balanced and managed properly with the aim of keeping open markets and free competition.

"The Malcolm Turnbull 5G ban on Huawei has meant that in terms of the current 5G market Ericsson has a near monopoly here in Australia that has already resulted in Telstra increasing their 5G prices for consumers by up to $15 per month.

"In addition, we also note Ekholm's support for the non-discriminatory 5G testing and evaluation regime being developed by the European Union.

"However, we find it very disappointing that while Ekholm supports such an open approach to proper 5G vendor evaluation in Europe that Ericsson Australia has not supported such an approach locally and has, in fact, flatly opposed such an approach.

"We would encourage Ericsson Australia to take Ekholm's comments on board and reflect on their own position for independent testing in Australia.

"Huawei has always been happy to have its hardware and software independently tested, we have nothing to hide. We have safely and securely been the largest provider of 4G in Australia.

"Huawei has always said that the Turnbull Government 5G ban would mean higher prices, inferior technology and a slower 5G rollout and Ekholm's comments support our position.

"Research from Oxford Economics forecasts that the 5G ban would cost local network operators around $300 million per year in increased 5G capex and mean up to three millions Aussies missing out on 5G – and that forecast is proving to be spot on."

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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