Commissioning of the first 5G networks in France despite health and environmental concerns

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The very latest mobile technology is only available in areas where operators have installed some 500 antennas used in the test phases, all concentrated around nine cities including Paris, Marseille and Lyon.

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<p>Les opérateurs télécoms ont mis en avant près de 3 milliards d'euros pour obtenir des fréquences, même s'ils ne s'attendaient pas à une adoption rapide des réseaux.

Sales of 5G plans “will not reach big figures this winter,” said the CEO of telecom operator Orange, Stéphane Richard, in early November. “It’s a topic for 2021, especially in the second half of the year,” when the network is growing, he said.

“Customers who sign up for 5G today will be mainly the most tech savvy,” said Sylvain Chevallier, telecoms partner at consulting firm BearingPoint. “A year from now when the network rolls out nationwide, it will be your average Jill and your average Joe.”

According to the regulations, each operator must install 3,000 transmission towers by 2022, increase to 8,000 in 2024 and reach 10,500 in 2025.

Only the major suppliers Orange and Bouygues currently have 5G plans on the market. Another telecommunications giant, Free, said it plans to do the same in the coming weeks.

France must be competitive

The French government has been keen to pursue the technology in the interest of staying competitive, with President Emmanuel Macron memorably dismissing 5G critics as preferring the “Amish model” at a tech show in September.

The new technology has raised some concerns about the health and environmental consequences of electromagnetic waves.

Some left-wing and Green Party mayors have called for a moratorium on new technology until a review of the regulator is released in the spring of 2021, but the Free chief urged public officials not to waste time rolling out the required infrastructure.

“It would be a shame for France to have the best terrestrial network, with the best fiber optic network in Europe, and to be the last of the mobile networks by refusing the 5G market”, declared Xavier Niel, CEO of the holding company of Free, to the deputies. Tuesday.

“It is also an image or a perception of France abroad which could cause us to lose our competitive advantage,” said Niel.

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