Paris (AFP)

Like Bouygues, SFR will request compensation from the State if the latter decides to block the 5G route to the Chinese group Huawei, which equips half of the 4G networks of the two operators, explained SFR general manager Grégory Rabuel on Friday on BFM Business.

"During the game, if someone wants to change the rules of the game, he must assume the fact of changing the rules of the game and accompany us in the consequences of this change," said the leader without ruling out the possibility of litigation: "We will take the necessary measures."

The sector regulator, Arcep, gave the green light to operators on Thursday to launch 5G by the end of the year, a new standard in mobile telephony that is expected to ultimately revolutionize everyday use. But the National Information Systems Security Agency (Anssi) has still not said whether the presence of the Chinese supplier in this strategic market poses a threat to national security.

Huawei "is the first equipment manufacturer in the world, it is the best quality, it is not at all the cheapest, therefore it is a very serious equipment supplier", explained Grégory Rabuel while the American president Donald Trump, who accuses the Chinese spy giant for the benefit of Beijing, is putting pressure on European countries to dismiss it.

Like its competitor Bouygues, SFR has built its 4G mobile network, which will serve as the basis for 5G, half of it with Huawei. Banning Huawei 5G would mean asking operators to dismantle all their Huawei equipment for 2G, 3G and 4G, Bouygues executives said on Wednesday during a Senate hearing.

"In the United States, Donald Trump has banned operators from certain Chinese equipment suppliers and therefore has decided to accompany them financially," Rabuel said of the billion-dollar Washington fund to help small operators replace their equipment. "I hope that in France it will be at least the same thing."

Despite this uncertainty, SFR "is ready" and "will quickly launch 5G commercially", assured its CEO who sees "no reason" for the company "not to be a leader in 5G".

Reacting to comments by Bouygues executives that 5G "will not change anything before 2023" for the client, Mr. Rabuel called on the state to "clarify" between "real 5G" and "fake 5G, which could just be a display and marketing effect. "

In the short term according to him, a single frequency band, that of 3.5 GHz, "will bring additional speed to the French immediately", while the 700 MHz band, on which Free is positioned, will only bring "no benefit to the consumer".

© 2020 AFP