Pence dismisses US buying Nokia, Ericsson to challenge Huawei

Published on 02/10 2020  Source: China Daily


US Vice-President Mike Pence on Friday declined to endorse a suggestion from US Attorney General William Barr that the United States consider taking control of two major foreign rivals of China-based Huawei Technologies Co Ltd.

Barr, a former general counsel at Verizon Communications Inc which is being sued by Huawei for alleged patent infringement, said on Thursday the United States and its allies should consider taking a "controlling stake" in Finland's Nokia and Sweden's Ericsson to counter Huawei's dominance in next generation 5G wireless technology.

Pence suggested an alternative approach when asked by CNBC for his response.

"Great respect to Attorney General Barr, but we believe the best way forward is what Ajit Pai announced just over the last several days," Pence said, referring to the Federal Communications Commission's chairman's efforts to free up more spectrum for 5G wireless use.

"That's the plan the president has endorsed and will be carrying forward," Pence said, adding that the United States can expand 5G "by using the power of the free market and American companies."

A spokeswoman for Barr declined to comment. The White House and a spokesman for Pai did not immediately comment.

Nokia and Ericsson declined to comment.

Nokia and Ericsson have a combined market capitalization of about $53 billion and it is unclear what source of funds the U.S. government could potentially tap to take stakes in the firms or if foreign regulators would approve.

In a statement underscoring how far the United States may be willing to go to counter Huawei, Barr on Thursday disclosed proposals "by the United States aligning itself with Nokia and/or Ericsson."

Barr said the alignment could take place "through American ownership of a controlling stake, either directly or through a consortium of private American and allied companies."

On Thursday, Huawei filed two lawsuits against Verizon in US courts in Texas. The Chinese company is suing the US carrier seeking compensation for alleged unauthorized use of Huawei patents for optical transmission, digital communications and related services.(Source: China Daily)