Investment climate, not security, poses main risk of 5G delay in Europe: Ericsson

FILE PHOTO: Ericsson Chief Executive Officer Borje Ekholm holds a news conference during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, February 26, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman

BARCELONA (Reuters) – Europe risks falling behind other regions in rolling out 5G mobile services because of onerous regulation and weak investment, not due to concerns about the security of networks, Ericsson CEO Borje Ekholm said.

High spectrum fees, regulatory uncertainty and a lack of investment were more pressing concerns, Ekholm said, alluding to calls by the United States to ban Chinese network vendors on national security grounds.

“This has much more to do with the attractiveness of investing in 5G,” Ekholm told a news conference at the Mobile World Congress, the telecoms industry’s main annual gathering.

Ekholm took no position on U.S. calls on allies to ban Huawei Technologies, the global networks market leader, over concerns that it is too close to the Chinese state and its equipment may be used for cyber espionage.

“It’s really up to nations to decide how to drive their national security policy,” Ekholm said, adding that this was worrying clients: “Of course the current uncertainty impacts them.”

Reporting by Jack Stubbs and Douglas Busvine

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