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France ends September with 35,797 authorized 5G sites

In France, mobile carriers are currently providing 5G services through frequencies in the 700 MHz, 2.1 GHz and 3.5 GHz bands

France had a total of 35,797 authorized 5G sites as of September 1, of which 26,455 were declared technically operational by the local mobile operators, according to the latest monthly report published by France’s spectrum agency ANFR.

ANFR said that the number of authorized 5G sites during August increased by 1.3% 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 carriers are currently providing 5G services through frequencies in the 700 MHz, 2.1 GHz and 3.5 GHz bands.

ANFR said that a total of 20,072 sites are authorized in the 700 MHz band (Free Mobile), of which 15,308 are already technically operational. Also, ANFR said that 15,350 sites are authorized in the 2.1 GHz band (Bouygues Telecom, Orange and SFR), but 9,326 are technically operational.

Meanwhile, 20.593 sites are authorized in the 3.5 GHz band (Bouygues Telecom, Free Mobile, Orange and SFR), of which 13,205 are declared technically operational.

Free Mobile had the highest number of operational 5G sites as of the end of August, with 15,315, followed by Bouygues Telecom (8,126), SFR (7.016) and Orange (4,530).

Some of the authorized 5G sites are shared by the mobile operators, the agency said.

In addition, 58,269 4G sites were authorized in mainland France as of September 1, of which 53,414 are in service.

Free Mobile, a subsidiary of Illiad, previously said its 5G footprint currently covers 77% of the country’s population, up from 52% in May 2021.

Free Mobile said that its 5G network currently reaches 9,100 municipalities across France.

For its 5G network, Free Mobile uses frequencies in the 700 MHz band as well as frequencies in the 3.5 GHz band which Free acquired in a French spectrum auction in 2020.

Meanwhile, Bouygues Telecom initially launched 5G in 20 cities across France in December 2020. The telco currently provides 5G coverage in more than 10,000 towns and municipalities across France. Some of the large cities where the telco provides 5G include Paris, Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse, Nice, Nantes, Montpellier, Strasbourg, Bordeaux and Lille.

French telco Orange has already deployed 5G in nearly 900 municipalities across the country at the end of 2021, providing coverage to 38% of population in metropolitan areas. 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.

Meanwhile, SFR initially launched its 5G commercial network in Nice in November 2020. According to the company’s website, SFR currently provides 5G services in 4,400 municipalities across France.