Orange’s 5G network reaches 160 cities in France: report

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French operator Orange has already activated 5G in 160 cities across the country, operator CEO Stéphane Richard said in an interview with the local newspaper. Sunday Jornal.

Some of the first cities covered by Orange’s 5G network are Marseille, Nice, Le Mans and Angers.

“We will deploy 5G very soon in 30 other cities, such as Aix-en-Provence, Brest or Toulon,” said the executive.

The executive also indicated that Orange was currently engaged in discussions with the municipality of Paris for the deployment of the technology in the capital. Richard said he expected the activation of 5G in Paris to occur in the first quarter of the year.

The executive also noted that the rollout of 5G in the country is lagging behind in other markets. France was one of the last Western European countries to launch 5G. The country’s mobile operators announced their first 5G deployments in November and December after telecommunications regulator Arcep made available spectrum suitable for 5G in October.

“France is leaving with almost a year and a half late in the deployment of 5G. It is difficult to know today if he will catch up with him, ”the executive reportedly said.

Orange initially launched 5G commercial services in 15 municipalities in early December 2020.

The operator has stated that the service will be offered via frequencies in the 3.5 GHz band.

Richard had previously said that the company’s 5G deployment would be done gradually and in constructive dialogue with all local authorities, alongside the carrier’s efforts to expand coverage of French territory in 4G.

Orange recently obtained 90 megahertz of spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band. The telecom operator said its upcoming 5G deployment focuses primarily on these new 3.5 GHz frequencies and could be supplemented with the use of 2.1 GHz frequencies.

The operator declared that it had chosen to initially cover already heavily used areas in order to avoid any risk of saturation.

The main auction of 3.4-3.8 GHz frequencies for the supply of 5G in France ended in early October 2020.

In this spectrum auction, local operators Orange, SFR, Bouygues Telecom and Iliad pledged to pay a total of 2.8 billion euros ($ 3.4 billion) for a total of 11 blocks of 10 megahertz spectrum.

The specifications of the telecoms regulator Arcep for 5G auctions 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 of ‘by 2025.

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

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