MONTREAL — Huawei Technologies Inc.’s ambitions to be a player in Canada’s 5G network took a major hit Tuesday as two of the country’s three largest telecom companies announced partnerships with the Chinese tech giant’s European rivals.
Bell Canada announced Tuesday morning that Sweden-based Ericsson will be its second supplier of the radio access network equipment that has been Huawei’s main product line in Canada since entering the market in 2008.
Later in the day, Telus Corp. announced that it had also selected Ericsson, as well of Nokia of Finland, as suppliers for its 5G networks.
Neither Bell nor Telus provided details on how much their contracts with Ericsson and Nokia were worth.
Huawei’s participation in the construction of Canada’s 5G network has become a major sticking point between Ottawa and Washington. The U.S. has warned Canada, the United Kingdom and other allies that it will limit intelligence sharing with countries that have Huawei equipment in their 5G networks — citing the potential for spying by China, an allegation Huawei denies.
“Huawei has worked closely with Bell in Canada for many years, helping them build one of the world’s leading 4G LTE networks,” Huawei Canada spokesman Alykhan Velshi said in a statement.
He added that Huawei’s remains committed to Canada and looks forward to the federal government completing its 5G review and its decision about Huawei’s role in Canada.
“We continue investing more than a quarter of a billion dollars a year in R&D in Canada. We continue building new research partnerships with Canada’s world-class universities. As we have for more than a decade, we continue to work with our Canadian telecom partners to help them build and support state-of-the-art networks that connect Canadians,” Velshi said.