Contrary to public steps taken by other governments to limit, ban or remove Huawei 5G wireless communications equipment use by telecommunications network operators in their countries, French authorities appear to be taking unpublicized steps to do the same with French operators.
Similar stories from the Reuters news agency and the South China Morning Post say that French telecom operators planning to buy Huawei 5G equipment will not be able to renew licenses for it once they expire. Citing what it said were three sources close to the matter, the Post story says the restriction will effectively phase the Chinese firm out of mobile networks.
“France’s cybersecurity agency ANSSI said this month it would allow operators to use equipment, including Huawei’s, under licenses of three to eight years,” the story reads. “But it added it was urging telcos not currently using the Chinese company’s gear to avoid switching to it. Operators must each apply for dozens of licenses for equipment to cover different parts of the country.”
The story said that sources told the Post that ANSSI had informed operators of most license decisions for large cities. They said the bulk of authorizations for Huawei gear were for three or five years, while most of those for equipment from European rivals Ericsson or Nokia received eight-year licenses.
A reporter from the international news agency Agence France-Presse asked the Chinese Foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin to comment on the media reports during the spokesperson’s news conference on July 23.
“French President Macron and other French leaders said many times that they won’t take discriminatory measures against particular countries or businesses on the 5G issue,” Wang said. “In the 7th China-France High Level Economic and Financial Dialogue that was just concluded, the two sides reiterated that they will encourage companies from all countries to participate in 5G development in accordance with market and security principles.”
Wang said that China hopes and believes that the French side “will honor its commitment, exclude disruptions, adhere to the principles of market economy and free trade rules, take actions to provide an open, fair and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese companies investing in France including Huawei and earnestly maintain the sound development momentum of China-France economic and trade relations.”