Three set to ditch Huawei in favour of Ericsson for 5G network

5 Dec 2019

Image: © Tobias Arhelger/

After long negotiations behind the scenes with Huawei, Three is now expected to launch its 5G network using Ericsson technology.

Following Three saying that its roll-out of 5G in Ireland will be pushed out to next year due to there being ‘no demand’ for the technology, some more negotiation details have emerged.

According to the Irish Independent, the mobile operator will sign a deal with Ericsson to provide the infrastructure for its 5G network, as opposed to working with Chinese telecoms giant Huawei.

This gives the Swedish company a major competitive foothold in Ireland as it already provides the infrastructure for Vodafone’s 5G network, while Eir’s 5G network uses a combination of Huawei and Ericsson technology.

Neither Three or Huawei said they would comment on this latest news. Following the earlier decision to delay the roll-out of its 5G network, a spokesperson for Three said it will eventually have a “substantial footprint” in Ireland.

“As a lot of the technology that will exploit the benefits of 5G, including 5G-enabled smartphones, [is] currently limited in availability, there is no demand that requires an immediate launch,” they said.

Only a small selection of phones are currently 5G compatible in Ireland, including the Huawei Mate 20 X (5G) and Samsung Galaxy S10.

News of the Ericsson deal adds further woes to Huawei as it continues to fight for its reputation in Europe and North America. Despite growing its presence in Ireland in October with the opening of a new office, elsewhere it has received a frostier reception.

Earlier this year, the US government placed Huawei on an entity list because of its connections to the Chinese state. In the UK, the government continues to debate whether the Chinese company should play a role in its own 5G roll-out. Meanwhile, Estonia’s government voted to limit the use of Huawei technology in its 5G network, largely based on recommendations from the US.

After the US Department of Justice accused Huawei of using stolen phone camera patents in September, the company responded by claiming the FBI was using “every tool at its disposal to disrupt normal business operations of Huawei and its partners”.

Updated, 4pm, 5 December 2019: A previous version of this article described Ericsson as a German company. This was updated to correct that to a Swedish company.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic