France will not follow the United States and bar China’s Huawei from its next-generation 5G network, but will have the power to vet all equipment makers for any potential security threat, a minister said on Monday.
French telecoms regulator Arcep kicked off the long-awaited sale of 5G spectrum on Thursday, ending months of intense debate between the country’s telecoms operators and authorities on how to best deploy the new ultra-fast mobile internet technology.
“We do not target one equipment maker,” Secretary of State to the Minister of Economy and Finance, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, said “There is no exclusion,” she added.
“There are three equipment makers active in France. Huawei has a 25% market share, there is also Nokia and Ericsson. Samsung is not active yet in France but is interested in 5G,”
“The government will not exclude anyone. We are not following the position of the United States. We will proceed on a case by case basis.”
French telecoms operators will have to seek permission from the prime minister for their 5G network projects, and receive clearance based on national security considerations..
Since the EU is being increasingly open about positioning it as a collective superpower to take on the US and China, you can see why it’s reluctant to overtly pick a team in that fight. In fact Huawei now seems t think the French should do more to protect its reputation.
The UK, however, has yet to announce its position and the next government may yet decide that staying on the good side of the US may trump all other concerns.