If operators continue to deploy 5G, they are not forgetting 4G. According to the latest ANFR accounts, the bar of 53,000 4G sites has now been exceeded in mainland France, for a total of 48,466 4G sites in service.
“These figures are close to those observed for the 3G network: 53,328 authorized sites and 49,062 in service”, notes the frequency policeman, who specifies that requests for authorization of 4G sites continue to flow, with an increase of 0 , 4% in March, while the commissioning of 4G sites increased by 0.9% in the last month.
While the hierarchy of operators in terms of number of sites continues to be stable – Orange in the lead ahead of SFR, Bouygues Telecom and Free – Xavier Niel’s operator confirms and once again goes to great lengths to make up for its delay in long standing over its competitors. Free thus accounts for 19,500 sites (+ 281 4G sites in March), behind Bouygues Telecom (21,413 sites, + 219 sites over the same period), SFR (21,820 sites, + 199 sites over the same period) and finally Orange, and its 25,736 sites (+ 253 sites in March).
More than 22,000 5G sites
“The New Deal Mobile has become a reality on the ground. It was certainly slowed down during the global health crisis, but it did not prevent the operators and their technicians from continuing, as far as possible, to deploy, especially during periods of confinement, ”we rejoice on the side of the operators who are members of the French Telecoms Federation on Wednesday, while recalling that the sector invests around 10 billion euros per year to deploy its mobile and fixed networks.
And to estimate that “unlike other economic sectors completely at a standstill, the telecoms industry has demonstrated, and demonstrates even more in recent weeks, its ability to maintain activity to achieve the objectives set.”
In total, the ANFR counts as 1er April 56,864 mobile network sites, all generations combined. With regard to 5G, more than 22,800 5G sites are now authorized in metropolitan areas, of which 12,213 are currently operational. Be careful, however, “almost all of these 5G sites have been authorized on existing sites, already used by 2G, 3G or 4G technologies”, recalls the frequency policeman, who notes that only two sites currently host only 5G.
The queen of 5G still lagging behind
As noted since the launch of the deployment of the new generation of mobile technology, it is still the 700 MHz band which seems to have the favors of Free. At 1er April, the ANFR thus notes that 15,985 5G sites are authorized on this band, of which 8,084 are operational. The frequency policeman also notes that 6,981 5G sites are authorized on the 2.1 GHz band, of which 3,484 are currently operated by Bouygues Telecom, Orange and SFR.
So many figures that cannot hide a reality: these two frequency bands already used by operators for their existing networks will not ultimately make it possible to keep the promises of an explosion in speeds displayed by operators in their communications campaigns. While they will of course prove to be very useful in terms of their territorial coverage capacities, they will not replace the capacity reserves of the main 5G band, that of 3.5 GHz, which the four major operators have recently shared widely among themselves. fresh.
Regarding this frequency band, which the operators snatched for nearly 2.8 billion euros at the end of auctions organized this winter under the aegis of Arcep, the ANFR counts no less 6,679 5G sites authorized on this “new” band, of which 2,731 are currently used by operators.