France won’t block Huawei from its 5G network

One by one, members of the European Union are announcing they won’t follow the United States’ lead on banning Huawei from their 5G networks.

The largest, Germany, revealed it had no problem with Huawei last month and the only surprise is that it took France so long to get in line behind it. French Junior Economy Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher was chatting to French TV when she casually revealed this major geopolitical development, according to a Reuters report.

“We do not target one equipment maker,” said Pannier-Runacher. “There is no exclusion. There are three equipment makers active in France. Huawei has a 25% market share, there is also Nokia and Ericsson. Samsung is not active yet in France but is interested by 5G. The government will not exclude anyone. We are not following the position of the United States. We will proceed on a case by case basis.”

Since the EU is being increasingly open about positioning it as a collective superpower to take on the US and China, you can see why it’s reluctant to overtly pick a team in that fight. In fact Huawei now seems t think the French should do more to protect its reputation. The UK, however, has yet to announce its position and the next government may yet decide that staying on the good side of the US may trump all other concerns.

Meanwhile Reuters also reports that the French government has set a higher minimum price for the next 5G spectrum auction than recently recommended by the regulator, ARCEP. The recommended level of €1.5 billion has been raised to €2.17 billion because the French government fancies the extra cash. It’s refreshing to see a government be so open about viewing spectrum auctions as just another form of taxation.

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