Arcep published its observatory of commercial 5G deployments on April 14th. As of March 31th, operators have commercially opened 12,917 5G sites, including 2,838 in the 3.5 GHz band. While analysis of the operators' curves shows that no one is neglecting the fifth-generation technology, not all are moving at the same pace.
With nearly 13,000 sites open in 5G in France at the end of March, mobile network deployment is steady. In just a few months, operators have secured coverage for millions of potential subscribers, and Arcep is even talking about "steady progress for the first few months of 2021."
Orange has activated the most sites and antennas in the 5G "core band" with 1,105 sites in 3.5 GHz. The incumbent operator is also supporting this deployment with 2.1 GHz technology (medium frequencies), enabling speeds equivalent to 4G since it exploits a band already in operation. By 2023, this middle band will provide access to new 5G services in current 4G areas.
Free Mobile continues to do well. Although the operator founded by Xavier Niel has activated fewer 3.5 GHz sites than Orange (824 vs. 1,105), it is the operator that has opened the most sites in France: 8,074 in total, i.e. 1,030 additional sites in one month, compared with 338 for Orange.
Unlike its three competitors, Free is still betting heavily on low frequencies (700 MHz). More than 7,000 sites have been opened in this band, which has lower bandwidths but has the advantage of penetrating buildings better.
As for the other two operators. Bouygues Telecom is still ahead of SFR, and even Orange in the total number of sites, from a statistical point of view. The operator - a subsidiary of the French construction giant - has activated a total of 2,263 sites, including 491 in 3.5 GHz and 2,091 in 2.1 GHz.
In terms of the number of 5G sites opened in 3.5 GHz, SFR is on a par with Bouygues Telecom with a total of 418. But the operator with the red square is clearly behind for the additional sites. Indeed, it has commercially opened 778 sites in 2.1 GHz. That is a total of 1 196 activated 5G sites all frequencies combined. This places SFR quite far from its first competitor.
Source : Clubic