The Financial Times published an interesting article giving an overview and some insights into the current geopolitical situation around 5G and network companies.
The United States of America has a disadvantage in the space of mobile network infrastructure because there is no America company currently competing on the top of the 5G infrastructure race. Huawei, Nokia and Ericsson are the world’s 3 biggest network companies, with Samsung, ZTE following along. There is Cisco, which was approached by US government to acquire Nokia or Ericsson, but the company refused.
The new mobile network standard means new base stations and more information flowing through those servers. US is sceptical that China might have access to Huawei’s network equipment, which would allow them to spy on other countries. On the other hand, US might be afraid they might not have a level of access in Huawei equipment, considering numerous leaks published by Wikileaks and others proved that US spied on other countries, including allies.
While China and US are in an open trade and technology war to secure their position on the global scene, the European Union is passively watching. As FT quotes an executive inside Nokia or Ericsson: “if Ericsson and Nokia had been French and German rather than Swedish and Finnish the issue would have been solved years ago”, meaning that the core leadership of EU, mainly France and Germany as the biggest countries, don’t take 5G as serious as they should because the two 5G companies aren’t their core national interest. Inside both, Nokia and Ericsson, exist sides that are for an acquisition by US companies that would ease the financial pressure for both companies, the question is will EU continue to watch how European companies get acquired by US or Chinese firms or start acting to defend the joint EU interest, which keeping Nokia and Ericsson in Europe surely is.