France ends February with 12,310 operational 5G sites

France had a total of 21,714 5G authorized sites as of March 1, of which 12,310 were declared technically operational by the local mobile carriers, according to the latest information provided by France’s spectrum agency ANFR.

The agency said that all of the 5G sites have been authorized on existing cellular sites, already used by 2G, 3G or 4G technologies.

As of the beginning of February, a total of 19,938 5G sites had been authorized, of which 9,426 were declared technically operational.

In France, mobile operators are currently providing 5G services through three frequency bands.

A total of 15,734 sites are authorized in the 700 MHz band (Free Mobile), of which 7,054 are already technically operational. Also, ANFR said that 6,090 sites are authorized in the 2.100 GHz band (Bouygues Telecom, Orange and SFR), but 3,261 are technically operational.

Meanwhile, 5,361 sites are authorized in the 3.5 GHz band (Bouygues Telecom, Free Mobile, Orange and SFR), of which 1,995 are declared technically operational.

Some of the authorized sites are shared by the mobile operators, ANFR said.

In addition, 52,819 4G sites were authorized in mainland France as of March 1, of which 48,053 are in service.

French telcos are boosting 5G coverage across the country after they launched the technology during 2020.

Orange has already activated 5G in 160 cities across the country, the operator’s CEO Stéphane Richard recently said in an interview with local newspaper Jornal du Dimanche. Some of the initial cities covered by Orange’s 5G network include Marseille, Nice, Le Mans and Angers.

Orange initially launched commercial 5G services in 15 municipalities at the beginning of December 2020.

liad subsidiary Free Mobile launched commercial 5G services in the country in December. For its 5G network, Free Mobile currently uses frequencies in the 700 MHz band as well as frequencies in the 3.5 GHz band which Free acquired in the French spectrum auction in 2020.

In December 2020, Bouygues Telecom initially launched 5G in 20 cities across France.

The French operator said it expects to achieve nationwide coverage by the end of 2021. The current roll-out phase will rely on the 3.5 GHz and 2.1 GHz bands.

Meanwhile, SFR had initially launched its 5G commercial network in Nice in November.

Some of the large cities to be covered by SFR’s 5G network include Bordeaux, Marseille, Aix-en-Provence, Montpellier, Nantes, Nice and Paris.

France’s four network operators have recently agreed to an updated charter with the Paris’s municipal government, which will enable the launch of 5G technology in France’s capital in the short term.

This agreement follows the conclusion of a consultation process launched at the end of 2020 by Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, aimed at gathering feedback from the public on topics such as the environmental and health issues related to 5G deployments.

The new pact stipulates limitation of exposure to radio waves, information and transparency on the installation of 5G antennas as well as monitoring of the environmental impact of 5G deployments in the city.

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