The Constitutional Council validated on Friday the “anti-Huawei” legislative measures, contested by the French telecoms operators SFR and Bouygues Telecom, aimed at preserving “the interests of defense and national security”, in particular in the context of exploitation 5G mobile networks.
The Constitutional Council judges that the legislator “intended, in order to preserve the interests of defense and national security, to protect mobile radio networks from the risks of espionage, piracy and sabotage which may result from the new functionalities offered. by the fifth generation of mobile communication ”.
Ensure “the safeguard of the fundamental interests of the Nation”
“In doing so, these provisions implement the constitutional requirements inherent in the protection of the fundamental interests of the Nation”, added the Constitutional Council in its press release. SFR and Bouygues Telecom, the two French operators who have half built their mobile network with Huawei, had filed priority questions of constitutionality (QPC) in the face of the prejudice related to the severe restrictions imposed on the Chinese equipment manufacturer on the 5G market.
France has not explicitly banned Huawei hardware for the deployment of the future mobile network, but the National Agency for Computer Security (Anssi) severely restricted operating licenses at the end of August, in accordance with the provisions of the law of August 1, 2019. Bouygues Telecom thus explained that it would have to remove 3,000 Huawei antennas by 2028 in very densely populated areas, and that it was prohibited from using Huawei antennas for 5G in Strasbourg, Brest, Toulouse and Rennes.
But the government said in early September that it did not expect “compensation” to be paid to operators “for decisions that have been made” about Huawei, unlike other countries.
Suspicion of espionage
Huawei, one of the world leaders in 5G equipment, is in the crosshairs of the United States, which suspects it of potential spying for the benefit of Beijing. The administration of former President Donald Trump had pressured Western allies to give up using its equipment.
After the United Kingdom in mid-July, Sweden became at the end of October the second country in Europe and the first in the European Union to explicitly ban Huawei from almost all of the infrastructure necessary to run its 5G network.