A day after the European Union refused to ban the Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawie form participating in 5G networks, Nokia and Ericsson were chosen over the Chinese firm by France’s largest telecoms company Orange for construction of its 5G mobile network in the country.,
Huawei has been facing stiff opposition from the United States and some other countries form being included in the construction of the new generation mobile connectivity networks because of alleged concerns that its equipment could be used by Chinese agencies for spying on western countries.
Some EU countries are also skeptical about Huawei.
Analysts said that the decision taken by Orange is likely to go down well with the US authorities who have been pushing its European allies to ban Huawei from telecoms networks.
Equipment purchased from Finland’s Nokia and Sweden’s Ericsson ate used in the current mobile network that is operated by Orange which is seen as a national strategic asset by the French government. A part of the new 5G mobile network will be built over the current 4G network layouts.
“For Orange France, it was the easiest solution,” said a report quoting a source close to the operator said. Negotiations and experiments using Nokia, Ericsson and Huawei products were undertaken by Orange, the source reportedly said.
There has been no comment in the media from Huawei.
According to France’s telecoms lobby FFT, there is not enough clarity in a recent decree aimed at screening all telecoms equipment to eliminate potential for espionage. The lobby demanded guarantees to be made on the issue.
The French authorities actually desire to put a ban on Huawei but does not want to spell it out in public, this is the general fear in the French telecoms industry.
Players in the industry will demand compensation from the government in the eventuality that telecom equipment from Huawei actually gets excluded de facto from the process of construction of the 5G networks in Europe, said FFT’s head Arthur Dreyfuss in an interview in Les Echos on Thursday.
There are laws in China that mandate that all private companies are bound ot hand over information to the Chinese government if asked for, warned European Union industry chief Thierry Breton in an interview with Le Monde on Wednesday, lending support to the above interpretation by Dreyfuss.
“Telecoms operators mustn’t select risky suppliers, which could allow a state, for example, to take control of strategic sites such as capital cities, areas of intense military activity or nuclear power plants,” Breton said.
The first opinion about equipment it has screened in the coming weeks is set to be announced soon by France’s cybersecurity agency ANSSI.
Earlier this week, the EU in a guideline about construction of 5G networks, left the decision on the member countries about whether and how to include Huawei in the development of 5G networks in their own countries. The United Kingdom has already said that Huawei could participate in the non-core sectors in the country’s 5G networks, defying intense pressure from the United States demanding a complete ban on the Chinese firm.
(Adapted from Telecoms.com)