The head of France’s cybersecurity agency ANSSI said there will be no ban on using 5G equipment built by Huawei, China’s telecomm giant, but that the French government was encouraging firms not to use them.
“What I can say is that there won’t be a total ban,” Guillaume Poupard told Les Echos newspaper in an interview. “(But) for operators that are not currently using Huawei, we are inciting them not to go for it.”
France has opted instead to keep Huawei out of core mobile network equipment infrastructure.
5G is expected to power everything from smartphones to driverless cars to power grids once it is implemented broadly. As a result, granting a foreign company access to critical network infrastructure is seen as a risk.
The Trump administration has actively discouraged allies from using Huawei for 5G implementation.
Just last week Singapore’s biggest telecomm companies selected Nokia and Ericsson to build their next-generation 5G network. Huawei had also been in the running to land that project.
Businesses in France may have had been able to sway the government’s decision not to opt for an outright ban, as some French corporations are already using Huawei equipment. Corporations with existing equipment can continue to use it, but that authorization will eventually sunset.
“For those that are already using Huawei, we are delivering authorisations for durations that vary between three and eight years,” Poupard said.
He also said the decision by France should not be seen as anti-China, but rather a national security decision.
“This is not Huawei bashing or anti-Chinese racism,” Poupard said. “All we’re saying is that the risk is not the same with European suppliers as with non-Europeans.”
Photo by Kārlis Dambrāns