Ericsson, Nokia Siemens support telecom equipment rivals ZTE, Huawei in EU issue

Telecom Lead Europe: Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks have supported ZTE and Huawei in the EU probe against Chinese telecom equipment makers.

Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks have urged the European Union to back off from its threat of imposing tariffs on Chinese telecom equipment makers.

Both Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks supported the two Chinese- mobile-telecommunications equipment providers because China is a major market for them.

However, Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks will increase their rivalry with Huawei and ZTW in China in coming months as Chinese telecom operators’ 4G equipment tender will be out soon.

The European Commission is preparing to probe possible Chinese subsidies to network makers such as Huawei Technologies and ZTE and the possible sale of equipment in the EU below cost.

The inquiries will cover EU imports of more than $1.3 billion a year and determine whether these shipments unfairly harmed European manufacturers, Bloomberg reported.

“Ericsson does not support this move by the Commission,” said Ulf Pehrsson, head of government and industry relations at the Stockholm-based company, the world’s largest maker of wireless networks. “We don’t believe in this type of unilateral measure. Our policy is for open, free and unrestricted trade and global supply chains.”

The threat of European tariffs against China’s manufacturers highlights the EU’s growing concern about Chinese dominance of markets in Europe and its readiness to make imports more expensive in a bid to aid domestic competitors. The EU is the biggest export market for China, which is the bloc’s second-largest trading partner, after the U.S.

ZTE spokesperson says that ZTE’s share of Europe’s infrastructure market is very small and the company denies it receives subsidies or engages in dumping.

China accounted for 5.9 percent of Ericsson’s sales last year and Alcatel-Lucent made 7.6 percent. Nokia Siemens made 9.6 percent from the greater China region.

Huawei, seeking to accelerate growth in Europe, said last month it plans to hire 5,500 people in the region over the next five years, predicting the need for faster services and cheaper smartphones will drive demand in Europe.

Nokia Siemens, Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent have announced more than 24,000 job cuts in total since 2011.

“We absolutely oppose any efforts to restrict free trade and erect trade barriers of any kind and have urged the Commission to refrain from taking such steps,” said Barry French, a spokesman at Nokia Siemens. “We have made that position clear to the Commission both verbally and in writing.”

Shenzhen-based Huawei says the company is disappointed with the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations against Chinese vendors.

In Europe and in all markets, Huawei always plays fair and wins business and trust from customers through innovative technology and quality service, rather than via pricing or subsidies.

[email protected]