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5G: 'There will not be a total ban' from Huawei in France, warns the boss of Anssi

The director of the National Information Systems Security Agency specifies to "Les Echos" that the French operators using it will receive operating authorizations limited in time.

Ththere will be no total ban of Huawei in the deployment of 5G in France, but operators who do not use the Chinese giant of telecom equipment should continue on the same path, said the director general of the National agency for information systems security (Anssi), in an interview with the daily newspaper Les Echos, to be published on Monday 6 July.

"What I can say is that there will not be a total ban , " declares Guillaume Poupard, adding however that "there will be refusals" and that they will not concern Nokia and Ericsson, European competitors of the Chinese group in the equipment necessary for this new standard in mobile telephony. 

'Operators who do not use Huawei, we encourage them not to go because it is a bit the natural sense of things. Those who already use it, we issue authorizations whose duration varies between three and eight years.'

'We are not in Huawei bashing, nor in anti-Chinese racism , 'he defends himself. 'We are just saying that the risk is not the same with European equipment manufacturers, as with non-Europeans. You shouldn't lie to yourself. '

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Spying charges

Huawei is at the heart of a Cold War-like showdown between the United States and China. Washington suspects the equipment supplier of carrying out spying operations on behalf of Beijing and is worried about the technological advance taken by the group.

The deployment of 5G, with the role that Huawei plays in it, has become a geopolitical issue, Washington demanding from its allies that they exclude the Chinese giant , which for its part denies that Beijing can use its structures for missions of 'spying.

In March, sources told the Reuters news agency that France would allow telecom operators to use part of Huawei's equipment, but only for non-sensitive parts of the network, such as antennas. In the interview with Les Echos , Guillaume Poupard does not specify on what types of equipment the refusals will apply.

'From next week, some operators who have not received a response may consider that it is a refusal, in accordance with what the law provides ,' he said.

Distortion of competition

Orange announced in late January that it had chosen Nokia and Ericsson at the expense of Huawei. Free (Iliad) had opted, in September 2019, for a partnership with the Finnish group to build its 5G network in France and Italy.

Bouygues Telecom and SFR on the other hand have Huawei equipment. 'The real question in case of refusal is how we make this decision absorbable by the operator (...) The objective is obviously not to kill them!', Argues the boss of Anssi.

Banning telecom operators already equipped with Huawei infrastructures from using the Chinese equipment supplier for 5G could lead to distortion of competition on the French market, estimated in February Martin Bouygues, whose group did not rule out wearing if necessary l court casee.

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