France will not implement total ban on Huawei’s gear for 5G: Report
The French government will not implement a total ban on the use of equipment from Chinese vendor Huawei in the rollout of 5G networks, but it will encourage local operators not to use such equipment, French paper Les Echos reported Guillaume Poupard, the head of French cybersecurity agency ANSSI, as saying.
“What I can say is that there won’t be a total ban. [But] for operators that are not currently using Huawei, we are encouraging them not to go for it,” Poupard reportedly said.
Local operators Bouygues Telecom and SFR have deployed equipment from the Chinese vendor in about half of their current mobile networks, according to the report.
“For those that are already using Huawei, we are delivering authorizations for durations that vary between three and eight years,” Poupard said.
State-controlled Orange has already selected European vendors Nokia and Ericsson for the roll out of 5G networks.
Poupard said that from next week, operators that have not received an explicit authorization to use Huawei equipment for the 5G network can consider a non-response after the legal deadline as a rejection of their requests.
“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.”
In related news, U.K. paper The Sunday Times reported that the local government looks ready to begin the process of removing Huawei from networks in the country and ban local telcos from purchasing new Huawei equipment.
It reported a review by the U.K.’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) deemed Huawei’s products unsecure, and ministers are likely to approve policy in the next two weeks which would see a ban on the purchase of new Huawei equipment implemented at the end of the year.
If this regulation is finally approved, Huawei gear would be removed from existing parts of 5G networks by 2026 or 2027, according to the report. Local carriers Vodafone and BT are already using Huawei’s equipment in their 5G networks.
In January, the U.K. government had decided to allow Huawei to continue providing equipment to local 5G networks but with certain restrictions.
At that time, the government said that the Chinese vendor would be banned from supplying kit to sensitive “core” parts of 5G networks; it will be limited to a minority presence of no more than 35% in the 5G radio access network.
However, in May, NCSC confirmed it was conducting a new review to assess the impact of new US restrictions against the Chinese vendor. The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the U.S. Department of Commerce had previously announced plans to restrict Huawei’s ability to use U.S. chipmaking equipment and software to design and manufacture its semiconductors abroad.
The Sunday Times reported the NCSC found that U.S. restrictions “fundamentally changes” the situation, prompting the policy changes, which could be announced officially at the end of this month.
Huawei was added to the Entity List in May 2019, after the Department of Commerce concluded that the vendor was engaged in activities that were contrary to U.S. national security or foreign policy interests. Since then, Washington has been urging its key allies not to use Huawei in 5G rollouts due to security concerns.
Huawei has been reiterating that its gear do not pose any security risk and insisted that the company is owned by its employees and that it operates independently from the Chinese government.
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