Swedish court dismisses Huawei appeal over 5G network ban


(Reuters) – A Swedish court has dismissed an appeal by Huawei against its exclusion from the country’s 5G network roll out, paving the way for the 5G spectrum auction scheduled for next week to proceed as planned.

The Chinese telecom group had earlier this month appealed against a decision by the Administrative Court of Appeal that allowed Swedish telecoms regulator PTS to resume 5G spectrum auctions without removing an earlier ban on Huawei.

“A ruling by the Administrative Court of Appeal in a case relating to the law on electronic communication is final and therefore cannot be appealed,” the Supreme Administrative Court said in a statement dated Jan. 14.

“The appeal should thus be dismissed.”

Huawei said it was still waiting for decisions on two other appeals it made in November in relation to PTS’s ban. The Chinese company said it would have “serious consequences” to hold the 5G auction while PTS conditions are subject to legal review.

“Huawei’s hope was that the (Supreme) court would take a broader approach to the issue of law and consider the appeal on other grounds, something we put forward in our appeal,” a Huawei spokesman said in response to Friday’s court statement.

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.

A Swedish court in December backed an appeal by PTS against a ruling to stop the 5G auctions, but also said Huawei could pursue a legal challenge over its exclusion.

PTS said last month 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.

“We note that the court has made this decision. The auction will start as planned on Tuesday 19 January,” a PTS spokesman said.

Borje Ekholm, head of Huawei rival Ericsson, told the Financial Times in November that the decision to ban Huawei restricted free competition and trade.

Ericsson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.

Reporting by Helena Soderpalm and Supantha Mukherjee; editing by Niklas Pollard, Simon Johnson and Jane Merriman