Monday 24 June 2019 12:22 pm

UK’s approach to Huawei makes no sense, warns Ericsson boss

The UK’s mooted plan to ban Huawei from parts of its 5G network makes little technical sense, a top Ericsson boss has warned.

Niklas Heuveldop, chief executive of Ericsson North America, told the Financial Times countries should either allow Huawei to participate fully in the network or not at all.

Read more: Shares in chipmaker IQE plummet as it warns Huawei ban will hit profit

Banning the Chinese tech firm from core parts of the network but allowing it to build non-core areas shows a misunderstanding of how 5G works, he added.

While the UK is yet to issue its verdict on Huawei, leaked details from a national security meeting earlier this year revealed the government was considering a partial ban of the company.

But Heuveldop said it did not make sense for countries to try to distinguish between core and non-core areas.

“I don’t understand that. You need to make up your mind. What’s the problem you are trying to solve?” he said.

The Ericsson boss said that unlike in 4G, core functionality in 5G will be “highly distributed” across the network.

The attitude aligns with that of US intelligence agencies, which have argued that there is not a clear-cut difference between core and non-core areas of the network.

Huawei is one of Ericsson’s main competitors, and the Swedish firm would benefit from a ban on its Chinese competitor.

However, Heuveldop said he did not think Huawei should be excluded from 5G networks and said the uncertainty over the company’s role was harming confidence in the industry.

“I think the uncertainty is the problem – not if they are in or out,” he said. “Huawei is a formidable competitor – it’s good for the industry and it keeps us on our toes.”

Read more: Huawei founder downplays $30bn revenue hit after US ban

Last month the chief executive of Nokia, another major competitor, said his company could benefit from the US crackdown on Huawei.

“Perhaps there is long-term opportunity but more than that, it’s hard to say at this point,” Rajeev Suri said.