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Bell, Telus give 5G contracts to Europeans, Huawei shut out

ROB GILLIES
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Canada-US-Huawei

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, leaves her home to go to B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, British Columbia, Wednesday, May 27, 2020. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP)

TORONTO (AP) — 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 and Telus Corp. later announced that it had also selected Ericsson and Nokia. Rogers already has a longstanding partnership with Ericsson.

Canada and its security agencies have been studying whether to use equipment from Huawei as phone carriers prepare to roll out fifth-generation technology. 5G 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 their next-generation wireless networks as they claim Huawei is legally beholden to the Chinese regime. 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.