by Adil Aftab
Published Thursday 16 July 2020
Huawei’s participation in the construction of Canada’s 5G network has become a major sticking point between Ottawa and Washington. The U.S. has warned Canada, the United Kingdom and other allies that it will limit intelligence sharing with countries that have Huawei equipment in their 5G networks — citing the potential for spying by China, an allegation Huawei denies.
“Huawei has worked closely with Bell in Canada for many years, helping them build one of the world’s leading 4G LTE networks,” Huawei Canada spokesman Alykhan Velshi said in a statement.
Huawei Technologies Inc.’s ambitions to be a player in Canada’s 5G network took a major hit Tuesday as two of the country’s three largest telecom companies announced partnerships with the Chinese tech giant’s European rivals.
Bell Canada announced Tuesday morning that Sweden-based Ericsson will be its second supplier of the radio access network equipment that has been Huawei’s main product line in Canada since entering the market in 2008.
Ericsson, already a supplier of 4G LTE wireless and other technology to Bell and the main supplier for its rival Rogers Communications, also has a major research and development presence in Montreal.
Bell said Ericsson will also support its rollout of 5G-enhanced fixed wireless home internet service to rural areas, which generally have less access to land-based fibre optics networks.
“We are proud to have earned Bell’s trust to be selected as one of their key partners and significantly expand our existing relationship to accelerate the transformation of their network with 5G mobile and fixed wireless technology,” said Niklas Heuveldop, president and head of Ericsson North America.
Prior to the arrest of Huawei Technologies chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver in December 2018, the Chinese company wasn’t a household name in Canada.
Since Meng’s arrest, which has sparked a major rift between China and Canada and focused worldwide attention on Huawei, the federal government has been undecided about whether the Chinese company will be allowed in Canada’s 5G networks — which are currently being assembled.