Huawei: French telecom operators criticize the slowness of the administration

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Posted on Jan. 15, 2020, 6:39 p.m.Updated on Jan 15, 2020 at 6:57 p.m.

The uncertainty of telecom operators on the possibility or not of using the 5G antennas of Huawei for their new mobile networks persists. Worse, it is getting stronger, according to several specialists in the sector.

On paper,
the law on securing mobile networks

    (nicknamed “anti-Huawei”) however clarified things. Before using 5G equipment, operators must obtain the green light from Anssi, the National Information Systems Security Agency, which depends on Matignon, and which has two months to study their files.

At the end of December, following the entry into force of the “anti-Huawei” law, Orange, SFR and Bouygues Telecom all three wanted to test the bath water, depositing
authorization files

   for deployments of Chinese 5G antennas in France.

These are currently being examined by Anssi. Only here, according to several sources, the tricolor cyber-experts multiply the requests for precision. “Do you intend to activate all the features? “, “Have you ever tested this equipment? “, “Can you send us the card considered for the request?” “

Silence is worth refusal

For telecoms, if all these questions are not outliers, some are futile pretexts. ” This is not serious, we squeak at an operator concerned. If they are trying to save time this way, it is a mistake. A court would never give them reason, the jurisprudence is very clear. “

In reality, what operators fear is that the Anssi is deliberately dragging its feet so as not to have to display a refusal of authorization upstream of the allocations of the much awaited 5G frequencies, planned for April. The risk, if equipment manufacturers were to be refused to operators by Anssi before this date, it is that they would be weakened and could then lower their bids for 5G auctions …

According to the new legal framework, the absence of a positive response from ANSSI within two months means refusal. But this period runs to receipt of a file … complete. Hence the annoyance of operators in front of what an actor describes as “Delaying tactics” to postpone the deadline. Contacted, ANSSI did not wish to comment.

Diverging strategies

“Some operators impatiently await an implicit refusal before they can sue”, decrypts a specialist in the sector. Here, the strategic interest of the four actors differs. Free, which only uses Finnish antennas Nokia, is not affected. On the contrary, it would be a winner if its competitors got bogged down in the Huawei imbroglio…

Orange does not use Huawei antennas in France to date. But he wants the opportunity to solicit the Chinese supplier for its future 5G network. So much for not depriving yourself of
the technological contribution of the world number one in telecom equipment

    only to bring competition and lower prices.

As for SFR and Bouygues Telecom, which use Huawei on half of their respective networks, they absolutely want to be able to continue doing business with the giant from Shenzhen. Doing without its 5G antennas would indeed require dismantling the 3G and 4G antennas for compatibility reasons. The cost would be enormous.

This equipment should be purchased and installed. Above all, a large part of the network would be disrupted for long months, pushing customers into the arms of competition. As a telecoms specialist analyzes, “Free would become, without doing anything, the second best network in the country … while it remains far behind. “


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