State Council upholds French equipment law

8 Feb 2021

France’s State Council (Conseil d’Etat) has rejected a legal case brought by Bouygues Telecom and Altice France (SFR) against Law No. 2019-810 of 1 August 2019 – introduced by the government to safeguard the interests of defence and national security in connection with the operation of mobile radio networks – ruling that the legislation was consistent with the constitution. The new legislation enforces an authorisation regime with powers to restrict the use of 5G infrastructure equipment on national defence and security grounds; in particular, the use of all Chinese equipment is limited by authorisations issued by the government and must end by 2028 at the latest. Bouygues Telecom and Altice, which both rely on Chinese equipment vendor Huawei for a large proportion of their respective networks, were given the green light to bring the case before the State Council in November 2020; the duo were informed in September, however, that they would not be compensated for Huawei equipment already deployed on their networks.