It was just last July when Monaco became the first country in the world to roll out full 5G coverage. The deployment of 5G across the Principality was the initial phrase of the government’s “Extended Monaco” program aimed at bringing the country into the digital age. (This vision was further underlined when Google announced earlier this month they’ll be offering Monaco full access to its catalogue and Google Play services in the near future.)
IHS Markit, a London-based analytics provider for financial markets, has reported that 5G technology is expected to produce up to $3.6 trillion in economic output worldwide and support over 22 million jobs by 2035.
France specifically is expected to fill its coffers with $85 billion, with 400,000 jobs.
The demand for 5G technology is being driven by governments who see the technology as critical to economic growth and national security, with Monaco, the U.S., South Korea and China being the first countries to roll out commercial launches. Japan, UK, Australia and Germany are due to be on board by the end of 2020.
France is also expected to take on 5G by year’s end but a new law passed last summer will require the country’s four telecoms operators—SFR, Orange, Bouygues Telecom and Free—hoping to operate 5G technology to obtain formal permission from the French Prime Minister, who will assess the risk of deployment “based on defense and national security parameters.”
According to RTI, “in France, Huawei already occupies around 20% of the telecommunications market, the rest is divided between Nokia and Ericsson.”
France will auction off its 5G spectrum in April. Orange has already confirmed it will use 5G equipment from both Nokia and Ericsson, while Free is going with Nokia. SFR and Bouygues Telecom, both 4G Huawei users, have yet to announce the company they’ll be working with.
On February 9, China issued a statement on its Paris embassy website urging France to establish “transparent criteria and treat all companies in a similar way” referring to telecom equipment makers, and to avoid “blatant discrimination” and “disguised protectionism” as it could impact European investment on the Chinese market.
The U.S. has been pushing European allies to ban Huawei over fears that China’s government may be able to access its systems for spying. On 16 January, President Donald Trump threatened to cut off intelligence sharing with countries dealing with the Huawei.