5G: For people, the beginnings are disappointing, especially in Free

Arcep published on Friday, November 19, 2021, the results of its annual survey to assess the quality of service of mobile operators in mainland France. For the first time, 5G measures were taken in addition to 2G, 3G and 4G. The objective: to evaluate the performance of the operators’ networks and also to test and compare the quality of service for a user with a 5G-compatible package and smartphone and those that remain on the 2G, 3G and 4G networks.

Equivalent performance between 4G and 5G

The authority carried out more than a million measurements between May and September, indoors and outdoors, to measure the downstream and upstream flows. Download speeds correspond to the speed at which it is possible to open a web page or file. In contrast, the upstream (upload) corresponds to the speed at which data is sent from the smartphone to the Internet server, that is, the time it takes to send files to a storage space.

Arcep presents the average flow rates that users can expect in the context of daily use, depending on the chosen operator. It is clear that there is little difference between the holder of a package and a 5G compatible smartphone and the owner of a 4G smartphone. On the upstream side, Arcep even writes that the performance is “equivalent between 4G and 5G.” Those of Orange, which shows the best results, amount to 24 Mbits / s in dense areas and 10 Mbits / s in rural areas.

The poor performance of Free

Orange, which is the best student for the uplink, is also the best for the downlink. These average 142 Mbits / s across the country. In dense areas, this speed increases to 227 Mbits / s for 5G against 148 Mbits / s for those without access to 5G.

For SFR and Bouygues Telecom, in dense areas, the difference in the download speed in 5G and 4G is similar to that registered by Orange, with 145 Mbits / s against 102 Mbits / s and 130 Mbits / s against 83 Mbits / s, respectively . In rural areas, these three operators do not offer any difference between 5G and 4G. This is because 5G antennas were installed faster in dense areas where this network can be used to alleviate congestion on a saturated 4G network.

Free is clearly lagging behind with the opposite results of its competitors. Customers with a 5G smartphone and the accompanying subscription have a poorer connection than those with a 4G connection, either in dense areas (32 Mbits / s versus 47 Mbits / s) or in rural areas (27 Mbits / s against 48 Mbits). / s). Really low performance from Xavier Niel’s group.

If overall the 5G figures seem insufficient compared to the promises, the recorded speeds are sufficient for people’s current uses. However, if operators want to justify a higher subscription cost for 5G packages, operators will need to publish better results in the next Arcep survey.

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