The French cybersecurity agency ANSSI said this month that it would allow operators to use the equipment, including Huawei equipment, under licenses of three to eight years, but urged “companies that are not currently using the Chinese company equipment to avoid switching to it.”
The United States says Huawei equipment can be used by the Chinese government to spy, which the company and China deny.
Reuters sources said that the French authorities also informed the operators during informal talks in recent months, and did not officially mention in the documents, that the licenses granted for Huawei equipment will not be renewed after that.
The sources added that the French cybersecurity agency granted permits for Huawei equipment for periods not exceeding 3-5 years, while its European competitors such as Ericsson and Nokia were granted licenses for eight years.
French companies, the agency and China’s Huawei did not comment on the Reuters report.
Reuters said, “Such restrictions will amount to the actual phase-out of Huawei within the fifth generation networks in France by 2028, given the short timeframe of licenses.”
One source said that it would be difficult for telecom operators to risk investing in Huawei equipment, given that new mobile technology such as the fifth generation takes at least eight years to achieve profits on investment, which means that granting licenses for three years amounts to categorical rejection.
An effective ban would be especially troublesome for Boogies Telecom and France’s Europe Europe, which are already using Huawei equipment in their existing mobile phone network.
The two companies declined to comment on whether they had requested licenses for Huawei equipment, or whether they had held talks with the French Agency for Cyber Security.
New authorizations for 5G network equipment are associated with existing 4G equipment, which means that if the operator chooses a different 5G processor, it will also have to replace the existing 4G infrastructure.
Companies have previously said several times this year that such a scenario, in which you may have to replace part of its network at a significant cost, would prompt it to seek compensation from the state.
In Britain, where major telecom groups rely heavily on Huawei technology, the government has ordered the disposal of the Chinese company’s 5G network equipment by 2027.