France ends January with 38,745 authorized 5G sites

In France, mobile operators are currently providing 5G services through spectrum in 700 MHz, 2.1 GHz and 3.5 GHz bands

France had a total of 38,745 authorized 5G sites as of February 1, of which 29,753 were declared technically operational by local operators, according to the latest monthly report published by France’s spectrum agency ANFR.

The spectrum agency highlighted that the number of authorized 5G sites during the first month of 2023 increased by 1.6% compared to the previous month.

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

In France, mobile operators are currently providing 5G services through spectrum in 700 MHz, 2.1 GHz and 3.5 GHz bands.

ANFR said that a total of 21,073 sites are authorized in the 700 MHz band (Free Mobile), of which 16,604 are already technically operational. Also, ANFR said that 17,041 sites are authorized in the 2.1 GHz band (Bouygues Telecom, Orange and SFR), but 11,125 are technically operational.

Meanwhile, 23,994 sites are authorized in the 3.5 GHz band (Bouygues Telecom, Free Mobile, Orange and SFR), of which 16,718 are declared technically operational.

Free Mobile had the highest number of operational 5G sites as of the end of January, with 16,610, followed by Bouygues Telecom (9,977), SFR (8,589) and Orange (5,843).

Some of the authorized 5G sites are shared by the mobile operators, ANFR said.

In addition, 59,677 4G sites were authorized in mainland France as of February 1, of which 55,033 are in service.

Free Mobile, a subsidiary of Illiad, said its 5G footprint currently covers 87% of the country’s population, according to the carrier’s website. Free Mobile said that its 5G network currently reaches 9,764 municipalities across France.

For its 5G network, Free Mobile uses frequencies in the 700 MHz band as well as frequencies in the 3.5 GHz band which Free acquired in a French spectrum auction in 2020.

Meanwhile, Bouygues Telecom initially launched 5G in 20 cities across France in December 2020. The telco currently provides 5G coverage in nearly 12,000 towns and municipalities across France. Some of the large cities where the telco provides 5G include Paris, Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse, Nice, Nantes, Montpellier, Strasbourg, Bordeaux and Lille.

French telco Orange has already deployed 5G in nearly 900 municipalities across the country, providing coverage to 38% of population in metropolitan areas. 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.

Meanwhile, SFR initially launched its 5G commercial network in Nice in November 2020. According to the company’s website, SFR currently provides 5G services in 6,200 municipalities across France.

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