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January 4, 2021
Börje Ekholm seems to be persisting with his counter-intuitive campaign on behalf of arch-rival kit vendor Huawei.
Back in October Sweden decided to indulge the US by unilaterally banning Chinese vendors from its 5G networks. However, it did so in such a slap-dash way Huawei soon found legal grounds to challenge the decision and now it’s being reviewed.
Apparently lacking confidence in his own country’s jurisprudence, Ericsson CEO Ekholm soon decided to put his weight behind the legal challenge by having a public moan about the original decision. Since the review was already underway when Ekholm made his comments, it’s easy to interpret the move as an attempt to influence its outcome.
Now paywalled Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter reports, via Bloomberg, that Ekholm has even taken to directly hassling government ministers on the matter, implying he thinks this will ultimately be a political, as opposed to legal, decision. The minister in question was quick to stress that she would never dream of poking her nose into the matter, but Ericsson did confirm to Bloomberg that Ekholm had been in touch with her.
Ekholm’s continued attempts to influence this process raise many questions. Of course he’s concerned about reciprocal action against his company in China, where Ericsson still does a lot of business, but he made his point back in November. You have to wonder whether the Chinese state has urged him to do more and (presumably) leak the fact that he has.
Nobody can fault Ekholm for doing his job and trying to protect his company’s interests, but his continued attempts to lobby on behalf of Huawei are becoming bizarre. Since his position on this issue has been a matter of public record for months, what purpose can reiterating that stance via the media possibly serve other than to virtue signal to the Chinese Communist Party?
As the Editorial Director of Telecoms.com, Scott oversees all editorial activity on the site and also manages the Telecoms.com Intelligence arm, which focuses on analysis and bespoke content.
Scott has been covering the mobile phone and broader technology industries for over ten years. Prior to Telecoms.com Scott was the primary smartphone specialist at industry analyst Strategy Analytics’. Before that Scott was a technology journalist, covering the PC and telecoms sectors from a business perspective.
Follow him @scottbicheno
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