According to L’Informé, the government granted a 3-year reprieve to SFR and Bouygues Telecom for the dismantling of Huawei antennas, suspected of espionage. Operators will therefore have until 2031 to execute. A way to avoid a multi-million euro lawsuit… and to let the next government take care of it.
The case of the dismantling of Huawei antennas is entitled to a new episode. Reminder of the facts: in 2019, following suspicions of espionage by Huawei on French soil, the government ordered operators to dismantle network antennas throughout the territory by 2028. Certain cities are targeted as a priority, in particular Brest, Toulon, Toulouse, Rennes and Strasbourg where military bases and equipment are located.
Problem is, this dismantling should be done at the expense of the operators concerned, namely Bouygues Telecom and SFR. A sentence that the two companies could do without, which led them to demand compensation from the State earlier this year. 772 million euros for SFR and 82 million euros for Bouygues Telecom, we understand that the State sought to postpone the deadline. Indeed, according to l’Informed, the deadline for dismantling was recently pushed back by 3 years.
Huawei antennas offer a little respite in France
Secretly, the Élysée has thus decided to grant a respite until 2031 to SFR and Bouygues Telecom, who will be able to continue to use Huawei antennas in certain cities until that date. Last April, Emmanuel Macron and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the color in a joint declaration, which promoted a “fair and non-discriminatory treatment of license applications from Chinese companies”.
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Furthermore, the Informed indicates that the two operators each abandoned the proceedings, citing legal costs that were too high and not a priority. That being said, it is better to expect new twists and turns in the years to come. “The next government will have to manage this issue after the presidential election. It’s a way of passing on the hot potato”estimates a specialist interviewed on the issue.