BEIJING, Dec 19 (Reuters) – The chief executive of French telecoms operator Orange said on Wednesday that some of the concerns surrounding Huawei were unfounded and that they would delay the launch of 5G. The US says Huawei, the world’s largest supplier of telecommunications equipment, provides equipment with a “back door” that allows China to spy on other countries. The U.S. has been pressing allies not to use Huawei devices in 5G networks.
Huawei has repeatedly denied the allegations and claims. But the European market has stepped up scrutiny of the security of network devices, where political debate has raged over the suitability of deploying Huawei devices to the next generation of mobile networks.
“It’s a rhetorical argument (equivalent to saying) that I’ve used a Chinese-made antenna, and then it’s going to have a microphone that the Chinese government can use to listen to my conversations, which is complete nonsense. “It’s not true anywhere,” said Stephane Richard, Orange’s chief executive. “
Stephane Richard’s comments came a day after France’s telecoms regulator Arcep formally launched a process to license 5G spectrum to Orange and its local rivals SFR, Bouygues Telecom and Iliad, which it said Some of these 5G spectrum payments can be made within 15 years.
Orange does not use Huawei devices in France, but in other major markets such as Spain, Poland and Africa.
The French 5G Spectrum auction, which has a floor price of 2.17 billion euros ($2.39 billion), will take several months to complete, with the final spectrum allocation due in the spring, a few months later than originally planned.
The deployment of 5G networks in France is likely to be affected by uncertainty over the use of Huawei devices in the country, particularly SFR and Bouygues Telecom, Huawei’s two largest customers in the French market.