Speaking to reporters in London on Thursday, Fredrik Jejdling, executive vice president of the Swedish telecoms equipment maker Ericsson, claimed it was doing better than Huawei in terms of developing 5G mobile networks.
“We've deployed 24 [live] networks across the world [in 14 countries]. We've been first to deploy networks across four continents. So for us, it's hard to see anyone ahead of us currently […] we believe we have a competitive portfolio that is on a par or ahead of our competitors”, Jejdling said, in an apparent reference to the Chinese telecom giant.
The Financial Times reported in this regard that Ericsson had clinched 79 5G-related commercial contracts by the end of 2019, compared to 63 and 50 such deals in place for Nokia and Huawei, respectively.
US Attorney General Urges Ericsson to Counter Huawei
Jejdling’s statement came after Attorney General William Barr called on the US and its allies to put their "large market and financial muscle behind" either Ericsson or Nokia to help them turn into "far more formidable" competitors to Huawei.
Barr described China as America's "top geopolitical adversary," warning that it had "stolen a march and is now leading on 5G", capturing 40 percent of the market and "aggressively pursuing the balance".
Barr spoke shortly after Huawei announced its decision to build manufacturing hubs in Europe in the face of a US drive to prevent the Chinese tech giant from operating there.
“Huawei is more committed to Europe than ever before. That's why we have decided we want to set up manufacturing bases in Europe - so that we can truly have 5G for Europe made in Europe,” Abraham Liu, a company official, pointed out.
London Greenlights Huawei Supplying Britain With 5G Technology
The remarks followed 42 members of the US House of Representatives sending a joint letter to the UK’s House of Commons Defence Select Committee, warning about the “catastrophic cost” of allowing Huawei to supply Britain with 5G technology. Earlier, Prime Minister Boris Johnson formally granted Huawei a role in the roll-out of the UKs national 5G networks.
London’s refusal to be in sync with US pressure regarding the Chinese tech giant was a major blow for Washington, with France, Germany, the Czech Republic and other nations already indicating that they would continue working with Huawei on their 5G infrastructure.
Washington has long been urging its European partners to exclude Huawei from participating in national 5G rollouts, citing security concerns amid accusations that the company spies on behalf of the Chinese government, accusations that have been strongly denied both by Beijing and Huawei executives.