By Gwladys Fouche
OSLO (Reuters) – Norway’s Telenor will conduct a 5G mobile network trial with Nokia in Denmark, it said on Monday, the second recently announced trial by the firm to be conducted with a Huawei rival.
State-controlled Telenor, which has 173 million subscribers across eight countries in Europe and Asia, signed its first major contract with Huawei in 2009, a deal that helped pave way for the Chinese firm’s global expansion.
However Huawei, the world’s biggest producer of telecoms equipment, faces intense scrutiny in the West over its relationship with the Chinese government and U.S.-led allegations of enabling state espionage, with Washington calling for allies not to use the company’s technology.
That includes NATO-ally Norway, which is currently reviewing whether to allow Huawei to build its 5G network. Huawei denies the U.S.-led allegations.
The collaboration with Nokia comes after Telenor picked Ericsson to work on a 5G pilot project in Norway in January, in a rival project to its already existing trials with Huawei.
“It’s important for Telenor to evaluate different technological, functional and commercial 5G solutions with our vendors and we are very pleased to partner with Nokia to test the new technology in Denmark and across Scandinavia,” Ruza Sabanovic, Telenor’s Chief Technology Officer, said in a statement.
Telenor and competitor Telia use 4G Huawei equipment in Norway and have been testing equipment from Huawei in their experimental 5G networks.
The country’s justice minister told Reuters in January that Oslo was considering whether to join other Western nations in excluding Huawei from building part of the Nordic country’s new 5G telecommunications infrastructure.
Huawei has repeatedly said its equipment is secure. The Chinese government has said it encourages Chinese enterprises to obey the laws of the countries where they operate.
Telenor has said it takes security seriously and that it has full control over critical infrastructure.
(Editing by Mark Potter)