The Strategist

French authorities prohibit mobile operator Free from installing Huawei equipment

09/04/2020 - 03:20

Thomas Reynaud, CEO of Iliad, which owns the French mobile operator Free, complained that the country's authorities did not allow his company to use Huawei equipment to create a 5G communication network. At the same time, there is no formal ban on cooperation with Huawei in this area in France, and other operators are working with the Chinese supplier.

“We have not received permission to host Huawei equipment, unlike Bouygues Telecom and SFR. We are sorry that there is such a different approach to companies”, Le Figaro quotes Mr. Reynaud. “Either some equipment is considered dangerous, and then no one should use it, or it is not considered such, and everyone should have the right to use it four country operators. And such inequality creates problems.”

Note that the French authorities in July decided not to prohibit the use of Huawei equipment when creating 5G communication networks. At the same time, even then the head of the Cybersecurity Directorate (ANSSI) of France, Guillaume Poupard, explained that instead of a direct ban on the use of Huawei equipment, the French authorities would actually stimulate local cellular operators to use the equipment of other telecommunications companies. This has already been done by the state-controlled telecommunications company Orange, which said it prefers to work with Nokia and Ericsson.

According to Mr. Poupard, existing Huawei partners have received permission to continue cooperation for a period of three to eight years. As for the companies, which by next week will not receive clear permission to cooperate with the Chinese company, they may consider the lack of a response to their request as a rejection.

At the same time, Bouygues said at the end of August that it was ordered to remove Huawei equipment from 3 thousand communication towers already built together with the Chinese manufacturer in densely populated areas of the country. The company must do this by 2028.