France to push ahead with 5G launch in 2020
France plans launch the deployment of its 5G network as planned in 2020, with or without Huawei in the picture. The country maintains that while the trade standoff could mean an issue for some telecoms operators since they depended on Huawei equipment. But Sebastian Soriano, the Head of Arcep, the agency in charge of regulating telecommunications in France, told journalists and analysts in Paris, “for me it will have a limited impact,” adding that no French telecom operator depended solely on Huawei equipment for major cities’ network coverage. “We are aiming for a commercial launch of 5G in 2020,” he reiterated, adding that Arcep would be lenient on operators who will decide to change equipment provider.
In the meantime, Reuters reports that the French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire while delivering a speech during a high-level forum on debt at the Finance ministry in Paris, has said that a decision on vendors for the 5G telecoms network would be based only on security and performance of networks. He categorically added that no vendor will be ruled out on the basis of any other criterion. “We want to carry out a careful control of this 5G deployment … without designating an operator as unwelcome in France,” Le Maire told reporters on Tuesday. “We will take decisions based on technological interest and the strategic security of our networks,” he said. He maintained that while he was not sure that Huawei had the best technology, all alternatives would be assessed on clear criterion.
“I’m not sure that we don’t have a choice. There are other operators that offer solutions and we are going to assess that in the coming months,” he said, with a finger towards what many believe is Sweden’s Ericsson.“I met the president of Ericsson and he presented technological options… this idea that there is only Huawei and all the other firms are so far behind needs to be checked and can be questioned,” said Le Maire.
Earlier, last week, French President Emmanuel Macron made it clear that France would not block Huawei, nor to launch any form of tech trade war. Significantly, this was a day after the U.S. government blacklisted the Chinese telecom’s giant.