France may allow Huawei to supply non-core network for 5G

France is likely to allow the use of some of Huawei’s telecom equipment in the rollout of its 5G network, Reuters reported.
Huawei 5G base station in China
The French cybersecurity agency, ANSSI, is due to tell telecoms operators which equipment they are allowed to use for the deployment of their 5G network in France, but has not made public any decision.

ANSSI decided to approve the use of Huawei gear, but only for what they described as non-core parts of the network, as these pose less significant security risks.

Core mobile networks carry higher surveillance risks because they incorporate sophisticated software programs that process sensitive information such as customers’ personal data.

French authorities’ decision over Huawei’s equipment is crucial for two of the country’s four telecoms operators, Bouygues Telecom and Altice Europe’s SFR, as about half of their current mobile network is made by the Chinese group.

State-controlled Orange has already selected Huawei’s European rivals, Nokia and Ericsson.

Up to now, sources close to the French telecoms industry have said they fear Huawei will be barred in practice even if no formal ban is announced.

By granting a partial authorization to Huawei, France would follow Britain’s footsteps, as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson granted Huawei a limited role in the country’s 5G network.

Germany is also struggling to reach consensus on the selection of Huawei. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling conservatives back tougher rules on foreign vendors but have stopped short of an outright ban on Huawei.

Huawei last month said it planned to build its first European manufacturing plant in France as it seeks to ease concerns stoked by U.S. charges that Beijing could use its equipment for spying.