Ericsson CEO Borje Ekholm strongly criticized Sweden’s decision to ban Huawei in the upcoming 5G auction. He told the Financial Times that the move restricts free trade and will delay the launch of this technology.

In an interview, the Ericsson executive talked about the Swedish Post and Telecommunications Administration’s order to prohibit telecom operators participating in 5G spectrum auctions from using Huawei and ZTE equipment.

After Huawei appealed the decision, the Stockholm Administrative Court issued a temporary injunction on 9th, stopping the additional clause restricting Huawei in the auction. The Swedish Postal and Telecommunications Administration also issued an announcement on the 9th, announcing that the spectrum auction originally held on the 10th will be postponed, and the administrative court’s ruling will be analyzed to examine the possibility of an auction as soon as possible.

Although Ericsson is expected to benefit from it, gaining more market share in countries that restrict Chinese suppliers. But Bao Yikang said that it is very important to review such regulatory decisions.

He explained that Ericsson and Sweden are “built on the basis of free trade.” From his point of view, “we have an open market and free competition, which is very important.”

Sweden’s position on Huawei is based on the assessment of the country’s intelligence agencies and armed forces. Bao Yikang said that he understands that telecommunications networks are becoming an increasingly important issue when it comes to national security.

However, he told the Financial Times that he believes Sweden has deviated from the EU’s 5G guidelines and used its own interpretation of the rules to prohibit individual companies.

Bao Yikang admitted that Huawei is Ericsson’s main competitor, but he added that it is also important to maintain cooperation on industry standards.

“I’m the kind of people who believe that competition will make us a better company in the long run,” he said.