Should the U.S. Invest in Nordic Telecoms to Battle Huawei?
by Kinsey Grant
For all the feats of American ingenuity (March Madness, the Roomba, Jell-O salad), there’s one big thing we can’t nail: a homegrown rival to take on China’s Huawei in 5G technology.
That’s why Attorney General William Barr urged the U.S. to invest in Huawei’s only real competition, Sweden’s Ericsson and Finland’s Nokia. FYI, the U.S. doesn’t usually make investments like this.
Barr suggested in a speech on Thursday that the U.S. take a “controlling stake” in one or both of the Nordic firms.
- “Putting our large market and financial muscle behind one or both of these firms would make it a more formidable competitor,” Barr said.
- What that might look like, per the NYT’s DealBook: a U.S. telecom or private equity consortium makes a bid for Nokia/Ericsson in exchange for tax breaks or subsidies from the government.
Zoom out: Huawei, which the U.S. views as a Trojan Horse for Chinese spies, sells just under one-third of the world’s telecom equipment. The U.S. controlling Nokia or Ericsson would loosen Huawei’s stranglehold on the market, but the plan is highly unusual.