French Operator Bouygues Confirms Huawei Antenna Removal

One of France’s largest mobile operators, Bouygues Telecom, has reportedly confirmed it will remove 3,000 Huawei mobile antennas by 2028.

The decision comes after French authorities in July this year told local operators they would not be able to renew licences for the 5G gear in highly-populated areas, once they expire. This effectively amounts to a de facto ban on the Chinese kit by 2028.

Now Bouygues’s deputy CEO was quoted by Reuters as saying on Thursday that the operator will replace 3,000 Huawei-made mobile antennas in France by 2028.

Antenna removal

“A number of sites will gradually have to be dismantled,” Bouygues’s deputy chief executive Olivier Roussat told reporters on a call, adding there were 3,000 sites with Huawei equipment.

“The dismantling will be carried out over a period of eight years, with a limited impact on our operating results,” Roussat said.

Roussat reportedly said Huawei’s mobile gear was already banned from the cities of Brest, Strasbourg, Toulouse and Rennes.

Huawei’s mobile equipment cannot be used in Paris either, it is reported.

Bouygues has repeatedly said it would seek compensation from the French state if it had to replace Huawei equipment.

Asked quizzed that, Roussat said talks were taking place with French authorities, but he declined to comment further.

He did however reportedly state that the group had also launched several legal procedures in parallel against the French state. The deputy CEO said the bans only targeted highly populated areas so far.

Huawei exclusion

Canada has also ‘unofficially’ excluded Huawei from 5G networks, by delaying a decision long enough to force local operators to exclude equipment from the vendor.

In the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered all Huawei equipment to be purged completely from Britain’s 5G network by 2027.

British operators had warned the government that they would need at least five years, and ideally seven, in order to remove Huawei equipment from their networks.

Any faster removal would cause widespread blackouts, they warned.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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