Ericsson and Nokia replace Huawei’s 5G deals – A year-long struggle eventually hurt the Chinese giant

Ericsson 5G Australia

The coronavirus lockdowns may have paced the decision to switch

It seems that Huawei will only be remembered as a pioneer in the development of 5G infrastructure but Ericsson may settle more business in Europe at least. A year-long struggle with the U.S. trade ban may have hurt the Chinese telecom giant to lose contracts with many U.S. allies.

There is no doubt that Huawei had stagged the biggest 5G infrastructure leading the other equipment providers, including Ericsson and Nokia. However, the Trump administration’s trade ban over Huawei has led the U.S. allies into a serious situation. The situation that eventually turned out to be a disaster for the Chinese telecom equipment provider.

In a recent bid, ditching China’s Huawei, two Canadian telecom firms have partnered with Sweden’s Ericsson and Finland’s Nokia to build their 5G networks. Bell Canada and Telus Corp have worked with Huawei for 4G networks, however, never planned to go with Huawei for 5G. It’s believed that they deliberately avoided the Chinese provider to ease the Canadian government’s decision. That’s how the companies see their national interest first, no?

Many of the European telecom companies have moved away from their original vendor and most of them have chosen Ericsson or Nokia, or both. A closer look on recent developments reveal that Ericsson will replace Huawei for either the Radio Access Network (RAN) or the Core Network for – BT (UK), Telefónica (Argentina, Canada), TDC (Denmark), Telia (Norway), and Telus (Canada, jointly with Nokia), BCE (Canada).

Ericsson also replaced Nokia in the UK and Germany for Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom respectively. However, a network named KPN in the Netherlands phased out Ericsson’s 4G infrastructure to partner with Huawei for building its 5G network.

COVID-19 could have helped telcos think to replace Huawei

It seems stupid but yes it could have helped the telecom companies replace Huawei infrastructure, which previously hesitated to do so. It has been really hard for the US to convince its allies for ditching Huawei. But the problem for them was not to be convinced, it was more about a cost of replacement. Most of the European countries were, in a real-world scenario, stuck to decide what’s best for them.

One of the reason was “the delay” as it may cause if they replace Huawei with any other vendor. It’s already well-known that Huawei is years ahead in 5G development compared to other vendors. The Vodafone CEO had said that banning Huawei will set back Europe’s 5G rollout by two years. He also mentioned that it will be “very very expensive” for operators (and consumers as well). Analysts had, however, noted that it could be more than just two years.

While the reasons above were logical, there is one major reason for the US-Huawei controversy. The allegations of spying that the US had started it all with, also had its effect on its allies. They couldn’t have overlooked the chance that if the cost of replacing Huawei is higher than the cost of putting their national security at risk with a Chinese company?

If they were really thinking seriously about the allegations that the US has built up, then what caused them all to phase out Huawei at once after a whole long year? I’d wonder if you say, not COVID-19. Well, it really could be. Even though it started in China, they contained it well in the home but long story short – the whole world is currently in lockdown. Businesses are shut down and people are not going to offices. Most of the focus is on a single thing that is called coronavirus. Simply, the lockdowns have also delayed the 5G spectrum auctions that gave the telecom companies enough time to think about switching their vendors.

How things will go for Huawei in Pakistan?

With all the buzz earlier in 2020, 5G trials were performed in Pakistan by Jazz and Zong, as both, the companies reportedly used Huawei technologies. Zong being a Chinese telecom company will have no problem with a company from home like Huawei. However, Jazz, a VEON’s kid in Pakistan, may have problems if the parent has in the Netherlands. But it’s very unlikely because Pakistan’s government and the nation is more a friend with China.

The third, Telenor Pakistan had already partnered with Ericsson in April 2020 for transmission network upgrade, a month before it announced its initial 5G trials in the country. It’s not confirmed whether or not Ericsson will be the 5G partner with Telenor Pakistan but it’s worth noting that Telenor has dropped Huawei for Ericsson in Norway for 5G infrastructure.

However, earlier in April 2019, Huawei had already focused on South Asian countries including Pakistan, India and Bangladesh to deploy its 5G infrastructure.

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