Huawei not totally banned in France

But operators using tech giant's 5G system will only get short licences, head of national cybersecurity agency says 

by AFP
Huawei not totally banned in France
Chairman of Huawei's board of directors Ken Hu holds a smartphone as he speaks during a conference at the Fortune Global Forum event in Paris on November 18, 2019. Photo: Eric Piermont / AFP.

China's Huawei is not totally banned from France's next-generation 5G wireless market, but French operators using them will only get limited licences, the head of the national cybersecurity agency has told Les Echos newspaper.

The comments were the latest development in the controversy over Huawei's involvement, after several Western nations barred the company from participation in their 5G networks over security fears.

"The operators who don't use Huawei, we encourage them not to go that way because it's kind of the natural way of things," Guillaume Poupard, the head of France's national cybersecurity agency ANSSI, said.

"For those who are already using it, we issue permits that last between three and eight years," he told Les Echos.

Those restrictions will likely limit Huawei's access to France's 5G network.

Huawei has invested billions of dollars in the technology, competing mainly against Sweden's Ericsson and Finland's Nokia.

But the United States, Britain and other countries have said Huawei represents a security risk, not least since its founder Ren Zhengfei is a former People's Liberation Army engineer.

Huawei has said it will pull out of partnerships with any hostile countries and focus on working with countries where they are welcome.