While not explicitly banning Huawei 5G equipment, France is gradually phasing out the Chinese tech giant from the nation’s next-generation networks, according to a lawmaker in President Emmanuel Macron’s party.

Earlier this week, the head of French cybersecurity agency ANSSI said that there would be no blanket ban on Huawei’s participation in the rollout of French 5G networks. French operators using Huawei equipment will be granted permits of between three and eight years, while others are urged not to switch to it.

These temporary licenses are merely a sign that the government wants to reduce the company’s presence in France, says Eric Bothorel, a Member of the French National Assembly from Macron’s La Republique En Marche party.

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“Yes, it’s a phasing out” of Huawei, the lawmaker, who was behind legislation to strengthen mobile network security, told Bloomberg. “It won’t be a total elimination, but there will be far fewer Huawei in the future network.”

France plans to hold its much-awaited 5G spectrum auction at the end of September after several delays, including one due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, scrutiny over the Chinese vendor creates hurdles for two major French operators, Bouygues Telecom and Altice Europe’s SFR, which rely heavily on Huawei. About half of their current mobile network equipment is supplied by the Chinese telecom giant. (RT)