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France's cybersecurity agency is encouraging telecom companies not to use Huawei equipment for their 5G networks. However, the country is stopping short of a complete ban on the Chinese group.
France will not have a total ban on Huawei equipment, but will urge its telecommunication providers not to switch to the Chinese company, the head of the national cybersecurity agency (ANSSI) said on Sunday.
"What I can say is that there won't be a total ban," Guillaume Poupard told French financial newspaper Les Echos in an interview.
"The operators who don't use Huawei, we encourage them not to go that way because it's a natural way of things."
Poupard said that permits that last between of three and eight months will be issued to operators who already use Huawei equipment, a restriction that will likely limit the Chinese company's access to France's 5G network.
'Risk is not the same'
The United States has encouraged its allies to prohibit Huawei from developing next generation technology in the west, saying the group represents a security risk. The US has already blacklisted the Chinese telecoms giant on national security grounds.
Poupard said the measures were not "Huawei bashing or anti-Chinese racism."
"All we're saying is that the risk is not the same with European suppliers as with non-European suppliers."
France's decision on Huawei is good news for two of the country's four telecoms operators, Bouygues Telecom and SFR. About half of their respective mobile networks are currently made by Huawei.
Meanwhile, state-controlled Orange has already chosen European rivals Nokia and Ericsson to deploy its 5G network.
dv/aw (AFP, Reuters)