French telecom operators using equipment from the Chinese manufacturer Huawei (Bouygues Telecom and SFR at the head) for their future 5G commercial services may receive from ANSSI an operating license of between 3 and 8 years. Without strictly banishing Huawei from French territory, this decision favors Nokia and Ericsson 5G solutions.
Would France close the doors of the 5G market to Huawei a little more? The decision of the National Agency for Information Systems Security to announce that French telecom operators using 5G equipment from the Chinese manufacturer will be able to receive limited operating authorizations: between 3 and 8 years, without however excluding refusal. Announced by the director general of ANSSI Guillaume Poupard at Les Echos, this decision should not fail to annoy a little more Bouygues Telecom and SFR who already use Huawei equipment (core network and antennas) to provide their 4G services and thought rely on it for non-standalone 5G services. “The operation of changing the antennas of an operator must necessarily be spread over time. They are the ones who demanded this, ”pointed out Guillaume Poupard, who also ensures that the ANSSI is not in a“ Huawei bashing ”position and that it maintains with this company“ good relations ”.
The ANSSI’s decision to grant time-limited operating authorizations for French operators’ Huawei 5G equipment was taken on the basis of a risk analysis. “We are careful with non-European equipment manufacturers, obviously, just as we would also be for example if all operators used the same equipment manufacturer, even if he was French, it would be catastrophic […] The risk is not the same with European equipment manufacturers as with non-Europeans. Do not lie to yourself, ”said Guillaume Poupard. ANSSI is not alone in having raised the cyber risks induced by the use of non-European 5G equipment. In a report released in October 2019, this was also the case for the European Union, which a few months later launched an action plan to secure 5G.
Bouygues Telecom and SFR ready to take the state to court
The announcement of the issuance of these authorizations should no doubt be widely appreciated by French telecom operators. For Orange, which has chosen to turn to Nokia and Ericsson to deploy its future 5G network on the territory, this should not be a problem. But concerning Bouygues Telecom and SFR, it is another story, the two operators using for nearly half of their network equipment from the Chinese manufacturer, the latter had even threatened to sue the state in the event of a ban on Huawei equipment for the deployment of their 5G network.
We see there all the subtlety of the announcement of the ANSSI which, instead of sounding the hallali of the ban, chose to announce an authorization of use with variable geometry. One way like another to swallow the pill and give the operators time to turn around without putting them on the wall. “The worst gift to give them would be to give them permissions for a year. It would be criminal! “Said Guillaume Poupard. Who spoke of caring for goats and cabbage?