French authorities have warned local telecommunication providers to stop renewing contracts with Huawei after the end of their leases. The licenses granted for Huawei equipment would not be renewed thereafter, Reuters reported last Wednesday citing three sources familiar with the matter.
France’s cybersecurity agency ANSSI has previously told local operators during informal meetings that it would only allow them to use Huawei’s equipment under the licenses from three to eight years as their European rivals such as Swedish company Ericsson or Finnish company Nokia received eight-year licenses.
For telecommunications operators that are not currently using Huawei’s gear, the French authorities have asked them not to switch to it. Therefore, the restrictions would result in a total phase-out of the Chinese company’s equipment within France’s 5G network by 2028, according to Reuters.
However, France has been seeking to find a middle ground that would allow Huawei to remain as an important supplier to its infrastructure while keeping it out of national security-related interests. French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the day before the Reuters’ report that France would not ban China’s Huawei from investing in the country, but will protect its national security interests.
“French President Macron and other French authorities have repeatedly stated that they will not take discriminatory measures against specific countries or companies on the 5G issue,” Wenbin Wang, a spokesman with the Chinese Foreign Ministry said last Thursday, when asked to confirm the potential ban of Huawei equipment from French telecom operations. “China hopes France will honor the commitments, rise above disturbances, respect market rules and security principles.”
SEE ALSO: UK Bans Huawei From its 5G Network
France follows U.K.‘s decision on phasing out Huawei from the country’s 5G network on July 14. The U.K. government said that mobile network operators won’t be allowed to purchase Huawei equipment after December 2020. Any existing Huawei gear has to be removed from the network by 2027.
Meanwhile, India has joined the U.K. and France in flagging security concerns over Huawei’s potential threats to national security. The Indian government has reportedly debated its 5G rollout plans, and weighed in on whether Huawei should be allowed to participate, according to the Times of India. The Economic Times also reported on Monday that Huawei has cut its revenue target in India for 2020 by 50% and is laying off 60-70% of its staff, excluding those in research and development and the Global Service Centre, citing several persons with knowledge of the matter.
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