Government minister says telcos can make their own decisions on 5G equipment suppliers

The Norwegian government will not block Huawei from supplying 5G network equipment to its mobile operators, it emerged this week.

Despite pressure from the US, which has famously blacklisted the Chinese vendor on national security grounds, Norway will not make any pronouncement against Huawei, leaving it to the telcos themselves to make decisions as to who will supply their networks.

"We have a good dialogue with the companies on security, and then it is up to the companies themselves to choose suppliers," Reuters quoted Norway’s minister for digitalisation Nikolai Astrup as saying. "We haven’t got any bans against any suppliers in Norway," he said.

The newswire reported earlier this year that the Norwegian government was considering its position on Huawei, noting that it had some security concerns.

The news that there will be no Huawei ban in Norway came as Telenor launched a 5G pilot in municipality of Elverum in the east of the country, claiming to be the first Norwegian operator to integrate 5G into its mobile network.

Telenor said it will connect 50 pilot customers to the 5G network in Elverum, who will be able to test the technology on mobile handsets, through home broadband and TV services, and as part of smart home solutions.

"Exploring this technology here in Norway means that we can learn, test and continuously improve as we gradually introduce 5G to our markets," said Telenor CEO Sigve Brekke.

Elverum is the first of 10 locations earmarked by Telenor for 5G rollout this year. Fornebu, Trondheim and parts of Oslo are also on the list.

Telenor is working with Ericsson on the Elverum pilot, but has also carried out 5G trials with Huawei and Nokia.