The International Business Times (IBT) is reporting that Attorney General William Barr has floated the possibility of the U.S. and allies buying a controlling interest in Nokia and Ericsson to help combat Huawei.
According to IBT, in a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, addressing the Chinese economic threat, Barr said:
“There are only two companies that can compete with Huawei right now: Nokia and Ericsson.
“The main concern about these suppliers is that they have neither Huawei’s scale nor the backing of a powerful country with a large embedded market like China,” he continued.
“Putting our large market and financial muscle behind one or both of these firms would make it a far more formidable competitor and eliminate concerns over its staying power.”
Barr’s comments come after carriers around the world have warned that excluding Huawei from 5G rollouts will significantly increase cost and deployment time. Meanwhile, Ericsson has been trying to shake the perception it is behind Huawei, in terms of either technology or scale. Even so, despite pressure from the U.S., the UK recently agreed to let Huawei participate in its 5G network, and all indications are that the EU will also stop short of banning the Chinese firm.
Given the threat to privacy and security the U.S. accuses Huawei of posing, backing its competitors may be the only viable way to overcome the Chinese company’s dominance in the field.