STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – A Swedish appeals court on Wednesday upheld a ruling by a lower court that banned Huawei from selling 5G equipment in the country, in the latest setback to the Chinese telecoms company’s hopes of staging a comeback.
In 2020, Swedish telecom regulator PTS unexpectedly banned Huawei from supplying 5G equipment to Swedish mobile firms citing security concerns raised by Sweden’s security service, a decision the company challenged in the court.
A lower court last year confirmed that decision.
The issue arose after the United States alleged that China could use Huawei equipment for spying and European governments followed suit by tightening controls on Chinese-built 5G networks. Huawei has denied being a national security risk.
Sweden had asked its telecom companies to remove gear made by Huawei and Chinese rival ZTE from existing infrastructure and core functions before Jan. 1, 2025.
Huawei’s Swedish unit said in a statement on Wednesday it was disappointed by the verdict from the Stockholm’s Administrative Court of Appeal.
“We will analyse the ruling, and evaluate our next steps, including other legal remedies under Swedish law and EU law, in order to continue to safeguard our legitimate rights and interests,” Huawei wrote.
In January this year, Huawei said it had “initiated arbitration proceedings” under the World Bank Group’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) seeking damages from the Swedish government over the ban.
Sweden’s tussle with Huawei has also led to Swedish rival Ericsson facing backlash in China.
In October 2021, Ericsson Chief Financial Officer Carl Mellander said the proportion of revenue Ericsson earned from China had dropped to around 3% of its total from 10-11%. The Swedish company was subsequently forced to reduce its operations in one of its biggest markets.
(Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Stockholm; editing by Terje Solsvik and Jason Neely)