TORONTO — Two of Canada’s three major telecommunication companies announced Tuesday they’ve decided not to use Chinese tech giant Huawei for their next-generation 5G wireless network.
Bell Canada announced that Sweden-based Ericsson will be its supplier. Telus Corp. later announced that it had selected Ericsson and Nokia. Ericsson already has a longstanding partnership with Rogers, a Canadian communications and media company.
Canada and its security agencies have been studying whether to use equipment from Huawei as phone carriers prepare to roll out fifth-generation technology, known as 5G. That tech is designed to support a vast expansion of networks to facilitate medical devices, self-driving cars and other technology.
Huawei is the world’s biggest supplier of network gear used by phone and internet companies, but has long been seen as a front for spying by China’s military and its highly skilled security services.
The U.S. has urged Canada to exclude Huawei equipment from its next-generation wireless networks, claiming Huawei is legally beholden to the Chinese government. The United States and Australia have banned Huawei, citing concerns it is an organ of Chinese military intelligence — a charge the company denies.
“We look forward to the federal government completing its 5G review and making an evidence-based decision about Huawei’s role in helping build Canada’s next-generation wireless networks,” Huawei spokesman Alykhan Velshi said in an email.
The Canadian government is studying the use of Huawei as Canada and China are locked in a political dispute. China’s imprisonment of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor is widely seen as retaliation for the arrest in Canada of Huawei senior executive Meng Wanzhou on a U.S. extradition warrant. A Canadian judge ruled last week the U.S. extradition case against a senior Huawei executive can proceed to the next stage.