Bouygues Telecom to launch 5G in France next month

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French operator Bouygues Telecom plans to launch its 5G commercial network on December 1, the telecommunications company said in a statement.

The company also said it plans to achieve nationwide coverage with its 5G network within a year.

“Bouygues Telecom participated in the 5G auction in September 2020, acquiring a 70 MHz block of 3.5 GHz spectrum which doubled its spectrum portfolio for a price of 602 million euros (currently $ 712 million) . As a result, Bouygues Telecom now has nearly a quarter of the spectrum available in France, ”said the telecom. “Bouygues Telecom will gradually deploy its 5G network based on the benefits for customers, which will materialize in two main stages. Initially, the capacity will increase to maintain a good quality of service in very dense areas where data consumption is very intense. ”

As a second step, 5G will facilitate new services for B2C and in particular for B2B customers, the telecommunications company said. To deploy its 5G network, Bouygues Telecom has decided to simultaneously install new antennas, using the newly acquired 3.5 GHz frequency band, and to gradually migrate the existing 4G frequency bands to 5G.

“At the same time, the company will continue to densify its network in terms of capacity and coverage, especially in very dense areas. The goal is to have more than 28,000 sites by 2023, ”added the telecommunications company.

The main auction of 3.4-3.8 GHz frequencies for the supply of 5G ended in early October.

In this spectrum auction, local operators Orange, SFR, Bouygues Telecom and Iliad have pledged to pay a total of 2.8 billion euros for a total of 11 10 megahertz blocks of spectrum.

Orange previously announced its intention to launch 5G commercial services in December.

Arcep’s specifications for the 5G auction stipulate that each operator must launch 5G services in at least two cities before the end of 2020. Each operator should deploy 3,000 sites by 2022, 8,000 sites in 2024 and 10,500 sites by 2025.

Ultimately, all cell sites must provide 5G service using frequencies in the 3.4-3.8 GHz band or other bands, according to the regulator.

Arcep has also proposed that 25% of the sites in the 3.4-3.8 GHz band in the last two stages be located in sparsely populated areas, targeting economic activity, especially manufacturing, outside large metropolitan areas.

By 2022, at least 75% of cell sites must be able to deliver speeds of at least 240 Mbps at each site.

Arcep’s conditions also provide for the carrier’s obligation to deploy 5G to provide coverage on roads across France.

France is the only one of the five most populous European Union countries where 5G is not yet available on the market. Mobile operators in Germany, UK, Spain and Italy launched 5G commercial services in several cities last year.

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