5G to Launch in France in November, Observatory Being Set Up to Track Rollout

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The latest generation 5G phone networks have a green light to go live in France later this month, the national telecoms regulator said Wednesday after wrapping up a frequency auction.

France’s Arcep regulator said the auction brought in EUR 2.8 billion (roughly Rs. 24,400 crores) from four network operators – Bouygues Telecom, Free Mobile, Orange, and SFR.

It added that their 5G networks could begin commercial operations on November 18 but noted that administrative formalities meant that they would likely launch between November 20 and 30.

The regulator also stated that it is setting up an observatory dedicated to 5G rollouts. The observatory will provide a wide range of information such as number of 5G cell sites, regional mapping of active 5G cell site deployments, and more. Arcep mentioned that in early 2021, it will publish details on cell site locations that operators plan on activating in the next three months, including information on available technology. It will also share information on location of cell sites for which an urban planning permit application has been filed.

Arcep specified that by 2022, at least 75 percent of cell sites should be equipped to deliver speeds equal to a minimum of 240MBps. This obligation will be extended gradually to include the entirety of cell sites by 2030, when everyone is expected to supply 5G service.

5G technology promises an exponential leap in the amount and speed of wireless data that networks and handsets can handle, enabling advances in self-driving vehicles, virtual reality, connected health, and more as sensors and servers communicate nearly instantly.


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