Bell selects Ericsson, not Huawei, to build 5G cellular network

BCE Inc. has decided to partner with Swedish telecommunications equipment maker Ericsson to build its 5G network in Canada.

The Montreal-based telecom firm said in a press release Tuesday that it will use Ericsson equipment to build its next generation cellular network, known as 5G.

Ericsson is already a component supplier for Bell’s existing networks, including 4G, but 5G will allow the network to handle far more quantities of data, faster.

“Bell’s 5G strategy supports our goal to advance how Canadians connect with each other and the world, and Ericsson’s innovative 5G network products and experience on the global stage will be key to our rollout of this game-changing mobile technology across Canada,” BCE president Mirko Bibic said, citing Ericsson’s existing role in 92 other 5G cellular networks around the world.

The decision means BCE will not be using 5G equipment from Huawei, a Chinese equipment maker that is currently installed on existing networks around the world, including Bell’s. But many countries around the world say Huawei’s close relationship with the Chinese government could expose cellular networks to spying.

The United States and Australia have forbidden telecom firms in those countries from working with Huawei to develop their 5G networks.

The Canadian government is currently mulling whether to allow Huawei to work on Canadian 5G networks, as part of a comprehensive governmental review of cybersecurity protocols.

BCE rival Rogers also announced in 2018 that it would work with Ericsson on its 5G network. Telus, meanwhile, announced this past February that it would use Huawei equipment in its 5G network.