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Wednesday, 3 April 2019

5G: France Draws The "Huawei Law"

5G: France draws the "Huawei law"
5G, a new mobile phone standard, continues to expand around the world. But Westerners are worried about the risks to their security, while Chinese equipment maker Huawei is suspected of espionage by the United States.

To set the rules of the future call for tenders and limit the risks, a new law begins Wednesday, April 3, his career in the French National Assembly.

This is a statement shared by all the players in this complex issue: time is running out. Calls for tenders to allocate 5G frequencies in France should indeed begin in autumn 2019. The Germans, for example, have already started the process. We must, therefore, set the rules of the game as soon as possible. The rapporteur of the law, LaREM MP Eric Bothorel, explains that with the new uses that promise 5G (mobility, e-health, industry, robotics, etc.). , "  Our level of exposure to risk becomes a little bigger. It is, therefore, necessary to change the scope to ensure that the uses can be carried out in good conditions. In detail, telecom operators will not be able to choose any equipment to deploy their 5G. Depending on several criteria, it will require prior authorization from the Prime Minister. He will say if there is a risk to defence or national security.

Framework and competition

This framework is also claimed by telecom operators. Philippe Lucas, vice-president of Orange, responsible for the standardization and development of ecosystems, "above all wants the situation to be clarified. Then we will see if each of the manufacturers meets the needs or specifications that will be set by the regulator. We are at the beginning of a new process. Our European operating partners are encouraged to contribute to these security frameworks. Hence the importance of having a healthy competition on equipment suppliers at the infrastructure level so that our customers can benefit at reasonable costs". Healthy competition, for the good of the consumer. Indeed, the more candidates in the 5G race, the lower the prices will go up. For now, in Europe, Swedish Ericsson and Finnish Nokia are in the best position. The presence or not of Huawei as the third thief would change a lot of things.

"Neither naive nor paranoid"

Because the name of the Chinese scarecrow is on everyone's lips. The Americans are pushing their Western allies to push the Chinese giant out of 5G. They have succeeded in Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. Except for the moment, the Europeans resist. The Brussels Commission has launched a plan to secure 5G, but Huawei is not mentioned in the text. It is also not in the law that Eric Bothorel will present, apparently impervious to all pressures. " The best way to respond to this is not to designate an actor because he or she would have a particular nationality. Without being naive or paranoid, we must lead a bill that is likely to bring together all the elements that make the networks secure, and that applies to everyone. This is the best way to avoid succumbing to geopolitical logic.  And the member to refute the titles read in the French press evoking a "Huawei law". Eric Bothorel speaks rather of a "technical and technological answer to a technical and technological problem."

Huawei in advance

Whatever the question, in France and elsewhere, Huawei has become essential in this strategic market. The Chinese group seems to have taken several steps ahead in the field of research. Met in a conference organized at the Mines-Telecom Institute, Yann Dietrich, vice president of France Brevets, said that Chinese and Koreans move in Mass in the working groups on standardization. " Huawei, it's going to be delegations of 50 to 80 people. As for today, the only French telecoms equipment maker like Sequans will only send a maximum of ten people. This is where you really need to deploy a lot more resources. » Allow European manufacturers to fight on equal terms, a way to avoid relying on Chinese technology. A week after the visit of Xi Jinping, and while the emissaries of Huawei multiply initiatives to reassure, France is finally committed to the path of uncertainty and steep 5G.

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