22:11 GMT03 March 2021
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    The country joined the ranks of several European states that chose to limit the presence of the Chinese tech giant in its 5G networks following the allegations of the US government that Huawei spies on its clients for Beijing.

    The Constitutional Council of France has found that the law introduced in August 2019 and which severely limited the number of licences issued by the National Agency for Computer Security (Anssi) for operating the equipment of the Chinese tech giant Huawei was not in breach of the country's constitution.

    The council ruled that the piece of legislation was designed in the interests of "defence and security" of France and sought to protect the country's networks from "risks of espionage, hacking and sabotage", apparently referring to the allegations peddled by the US that Huawei equipment might be used by Beijing for espionage. The constitutional body added that the provisions of the 2019 law meet the constitutional requirements of being aimed at protecting the "fundamental interests of the Nation".

    By issuing a positive ruling on the so-called "anti-Huawei" law, the Constitutional Council effectively dismissed the complaint by two French telecom companies SFR and Bouygues Telecom, who relied heavily on Huawei tech in their networks. Bouygues Telecom said it would have to replace around 3,000 mobile antennas made by Huawei by 2028 as a result of the legislation. At the same time, Paris indicated it is not planning to compensate the telecom companies for the losses imposed by the strict limitations on Huawei equipment and the arising need to replace it.

    Huawei is one of the leaders in the global race for 5G coverage, being responsible for a significant part of the equipment needed to install the new-generation network. However, the company has faced bans in several countries over the US claims that the tech giant is cooperating with Beijing and allowing the Communist Party to spy on its clients via backdoors. Both China and Huawei deny the allegations as unsubstantiated and completely false.

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