The French government confirmed that Chinese vendor Huawei would not be excluded from supplying equipment for local 5G networks, but could be subject to certain restrictions.
“There is no discrimination towards Huawei… No, Huawei will not be excluded from the 5G in France,” Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told local TV station BFM TV.
However, the official said that the French state will take precautions to protect its sovereign interests, especially close to nuclear and military installations. “Everyone can put in a bid to equip French territory with 5G, but we will put in place a certain number of limits to protect our sovereignty,” said Le Maire.
Le Maire also noted that France may also prioritize a European vendor such as Ericsson or Nokia. “We have two European vendors who supply 5G and supply quality equipment. It is normal if we look first [to see]if they can provide the solution. And I think our Chinese partners can understand that.”
“Huawei will be not be discriminated against. If Huawei has a better offer from a technical point of view or price, it can have access to 5G in France,” the official added.
Last month, the U.K. government decided to allow Huawei to continue providing equipment to local 5G networks but with certain restrictions, despite pressure from the U.S. to block the vendor.
According to the government’s new regulations, U.K. operators should put in place additional safeguards and exclude high-risk vendors from parts of the telecoms network that are critical to security.
Huawei will 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.
The U.K. government also said that high-risk vendors will be excluded from sensitive geographic locations, such as nuclear sites and military bases.
U.S. officials have warned that allowing Huawei in 5G networks could affect trade talks. They also warned that intelligence sharing with the U.K. may be affected. Both countries are members of the so-called Five Eyes countries, along with Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, who share their most sensitive intelligence with each other.
In related news, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the U.S. Department of Commerce announced it was extending a Temporary General License (TGL) for Huawei Technologies and its non-U.S. affiliates on the Entity List for an additional 45 days.
The TGL was implemented with the aim of preventing an interruption of existing network communication systems in rural U.S. regions. The TGL authorizes U.S. companies to make specific, limited engagements in transactions involving the export, reexport, and transfer of items to the Chinese vendor.
“The 45-day extension is necessary to allow existing telecommunication providers—particularly those in rural U.S. communities—the ability to continue to temporarily and securely operate existing networks while they identify alternatives to Huawei for future operation,” the agency said.
Huawei was added to the Entity List in May last year after the Department concluded that the vendor was engaged in activities that are contrary to U.S. national security or foreign policy interests.
“Extending the Temporary General License won’t have a substantial impact on Huawei’s business either way. This decision does not change the fact that Huawei continues to be treated unfairly, either,” Huawei said in an emailed statement to RCR Wireless News. “We have long held that the decision by the US Department of Commerce to add Huawei to the Entity List has caused more harm to the US than to Huawei. This has done significant economic harm to the American companies with which Huawei does business, and has already disrupted collaboration and undermined the mutual trust on which the global supply chain depends. We call on the US government to put an end to this unjust treatment and remove Huawei from the Entity List.”