While operators are forced to untie the strings of their purses to deploy their new generation fixed and mobile networks, the search for new institutional partners is in full swing. As for Bouygues Telecom, it is to the European Investment Bank (EIB) that we will have to turn. The European Union investment fund has in fact just financed a round of funding of up to 350 million euros in favor of the operator of the Bouygues group.
A tidy sum intended to accelerate the deployment of the operator’s 5G network, which has lagged slightly behind its competitors since the launch of the new generation of mobile technology at the end of last year. “This EIB financing will contribute in the mobile sector to strengthening Bouygues Telecom’s coverage, including in rural areas (target of 28,000 sites in 2023, and around 35,000 in 2026) and to the fourfold increase in the capacity of its mobile radio network by 2026 ”, informs the management of the operator.
It also plans to invest 1.5 billion euros per year as part of its Ambition 2026 strategic plan, in order to establish itself as the leading French alternative mobile operator and as a major player in fiber.
“Supporting innovation and infrastructure for new technologies essential to the digital transition is one of the main missions of the European Union bank. This is why I am delighted to see this first partnership with Bouygues Telecom around 5G come to fruition, ”said Ambroise Fayolle, Vice-President of the EIB. And to add: “to succeed, this transition supposes that the whole of the hexagonal territory can benefit from a rapid deployment of the new mobile networks so as to reinforce their attractiveness and to facilitate the life of those which reside there”.
Note that in mid-March Bouygues Telecom had 2,029 5G sites, including 325 on the 3.5 GHz band, and 1,959 on the average 1.8 and 2.1 GHz bands. By comparison, during the same period, Free had 7,044 5G sites on the “low” 700 MHz band and 562 5G sites on the 3.5 GHz band. For its part, Orange now has 1,059 5G sites, including 808 on the 3.5 GHz band, while SFR has 987 sites, including 284 on the “queen band” of 5G.
Bouygues Telecom’s great ambitions do not stop at 5G. The operator thus wishes to increase its FttH coverage from 17 million sockets marketed at the end of 2020 to 35 million at the end of 2026, with an intermediate objective of 27 million at the end of 2022. “The displayed support of the European Union bank for this vast project industrial is a validation of our choices and confirms the relevance of our strategy ”, underlines Christian Lecoq, Deputy Managing Director in charge of finance and purchasing at Bouygues Telecom.