The U.S. Attorney General William Barr recently said the country should consider purchasing majority stakes in Nokia and/or Ericsson to push back against the dominance of Huawei and its control over the 5G market.
EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager signaled that regulators were neutral to the idea, saying that it’s up to the “businesses to answer if they are for sale or not,” and that it’s up to the EU “to make sure that every risk is assessed,” according to a report by CNBC. There is no direct competitor for Huawei in the U.S.
“Here in Europe, we are neutral on ownership, you can be state-owned or privately-owned; what is important for us is that [if] you act as a market operator, you have a real business case for what you do,” Vestager said. “So, you know, I have no specific point if the U.S. state would want to buy a stake, and I don’t know if there is a stake in Nokia, Ericsson that is for sale.”
Barr and others on Capitol Hill continue to claim that the Chinese company Huawei is a security risk and is beholden to the Chinese government. They fear it could be used to spy on Americans or shut down networks. Huawei has repeatedly denied these claims.
The Trump administration has been vocal to other countries about not using the company to build out their 5G networks, but the U.K. decided to use Huawei at least at some capacity. Germany is the next country to decide whether it will use Huawei or not.
Ericsson declined to comment on Barr’s statements; Nokia said that “we always welcome investor interest.”