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Swedish court to hear Huawei's case against 5G ban

STOCKHOLM, April 21 (Reuters) - A Swedish administrative court on Wednesday will start hearing arguments in a case filed by Huawei Technologies Co Ltd against the country’s telecom regulator for banning the Chinese company from its 5G networks.

While several countries across Europe are still formulating telecom policies, only the United Kingdom here and Sweden have so far banned Huawei and ZTE Corp from supplying critical 5G network equipment.

Sweden’s telecom regulator PTS in October banned the Chinese companies from rolling out 5G, citing security risks. It gave telecom operators taking part in 5G auctions until Jan. 1, 2025 to remove Chinese gear from their infrastructure and core functions.

Under Swedish law, any company affected by new legislation has the right to be heard and given the chance to clarify any concerns before restrictions are imposed, said Kenneth Fredriksen, Huawei’s executive vice president, Central East Europe and Nordic Region, in an interview.

“Now we will have the opportunity to explain ourselves and let our opinions be heard in a proper way and also deal with all the legal mistakes we believe have been made.”

The court will hear arguments from both parties from Wednesday to Friday.

A spokeswoman for the court said the date for delivering a verdict has not been disclosed.

A Swedish court had allowed PTS to conduct 5G auctions, but also said Huawei could pursue a legal challenge over its exclusion.

PTS finished the auctions in January with Telia Company AB , Tele2 AB, Telenor ASA and Tre winning parts of the spectrum.

It was unclear if the auction results would face any legal challenge if the court ruled in Huawei’s favor.

A PTS spokesman said the regulator would not make any comments during the ongoing hearing.

Huawei’s Fredriksen declined to comment on the outcome of the case, but said the verdict would not affect the company’s other businesses in Sweden.

The company has an R&D center in the country, an enterprise telecom business and also sells consumer electronics gadgets.

“As long as we are allowed to do business, we will remain in Sweden and then we will fight for the businesses we are allowed to do,” he said.

Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Stockholm; Additional reporting by Helena Soderpalm; Editing by Richard Chang

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