The Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei will not be excluded from the 5G market in France, assured Thursday, February 13, the Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire, at the microphone of RMC / BFMTV. It is "Perfectly understandable that we can at one time or another favor a European operator" But "If Huawei has a better offer to present at one time or another from a technical point of view, from a price point of view, it will be able to have access to 5G in France"said the minister.
Bruno Le Maire, however, clarified that "there are critical installations, military installations, nuclear zones nearby, we will put a certain number of restrictions to protect our interests of sovereignty ", added Bruno Le Maire.
This clarification of the French position comes four days after a warning from Beijing against possible " discriminatory measures " against him.
The Chinese group is one of the world's leading providers of network technologies, and one of the few – along with European telecoms groups Nokia and Ericsson – capable of building 5G networks. The United States has been waging an intense campaign for several months to try to convince their allies to follow suit and ban Huawei from these future networks.
Fear of spying
The United States is indeed afraid that Huawei will install electronic surveillance tools at the heart of its infrastructure. According to US officials quoted by the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, the telecoms giant is being forced by the Chinese government to install secret access routes (" back doors ”) In its mobile telephone networks for surveillance purposes. Charges dismissed by Huawei citing a "Smoke screen" making "Ignoring any commonly accepted logic in the field of cybersecurity".
"There is nothing proven on these matters of espionage. We are in science fiction "Approves Jean-Luc Lemmens, director of the Telecom division of Idate, a European think tank specializing in the digital economy, the media, the Internet and telecommunications. “There is a very clear regulatory framework in France. Each equipment manufacturer must obtain validation by the National Information Systems Security Agency (ANSSI) "Adds Carole Manero, director of Idate's 5G practice. Concretely, this public agency is responsible for dismantling the network infrastructures to verify their reliability.
The green light from the European Union
This intervention by Bruno Le Maire comes after a limited authorization from London and a green light, again accompanied by strict conditions, granted at the end of January by the European Union to the Chinese equipment supplier.
Germany, for its part, has not yet announced its decision but its Chancellor Angela Merkel declared herself in December "Against a priori exclusion of a specific company" while promising to "Do everything to guarantee security" German infrastructure.