French operators are deploying 5G in the 700 MHz, 2.1 GHz, and 3.5 GHz bands
France had a total of 26,084 5G authorized sites as of July 1, of which 19,002 were declared technically operational by the local mobile operators, according to the latest information provided by France’s spectrum agency ANFR.
ANFR said that the number of authorized 5G sites during June increased by 3.9% compared to the previous month.
The agency 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 three frequency bands: 700 MHz, 2.1 GHz and 3.5 GHz.
The agency said that a total of 16,954 sites are authorized in the 700 MHz band (Free Mobile), of which 10,248 are already technically operational. Also, ANFR said that 9,115 sites are authorized in the 2.1 GHz band (Bouygues Telecom, Orange and SFR), but 4,122 are technically operational.
Meanwhile, 9.370 sites are authorized in the 3.5 GHz band (Bouygues Telecom, Free Mobile, Orange and SFR), of which 4,632 are declared technically operational.
Free Mobile had the highest number of operational 5G sites, with 10,250, followed by Bouygues Telecom (3,150), Orange (1,869) and SFR (1,705).
Some of the authorized sites are shared by the mobile operators, ANFR said.
In addition, 53,854 4G sites were authorized in mainland France as of July 1, of which 49,477 are in service.
French telco Orange has already activated 5G in 160 cities across the country, the operator’s CEO Stéphane Richard previously 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.
Illiad subsidiary Free Mobile launched commercial 5G services in the country in December 2020. 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.
Also 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 initially launched its 5G commercial network in Nice in November.