© Robyn Beck © 2019 AFP The standoff has ended, under conditions: 5G will be deployed in Paris "in the coming weeks" thanks to an agreement announced Friday between the town hall and the telecom operators
As with every major technological development, telecom operators seem to be putting the cart before the horse. Ads praising the commercial opening of their 5G networks tend to multiply on posters on television.
Admittedly, deployments are accelerating, according to the latest report from Arcep, the telecoms regulator (as of February 22), 9,980 5G sites are commercially "on" throughout the territory against 8,675 a month earlier and 7,571 in December 2020.
However, the 5G currently deployed is not yet the one that will keep the promise of the significant increase in speeds as it is perceived and expected. A very large majority of these deployments concern Free Mobile (6273 sites) which uses almost exclusively the 700 MHz band.
Almost 10,000 sites on but …
If this band released by the TNT players in 2019, indeed belongs to the galaxy of 5G frequencies, it offers above all better coverage than the frequencies used for 4G for example and not the expected increase in speeds (which are little or more the same as 4G), nor the low latency promised by 5G. This is where 5G makes the difference.
The low bands (like 700 MHz, Editor's note) "provide better surface coverage and inside buildings, but speeds not comparable to those provided by high bands like 3.5 GHz", recalls Arcep. .
It is indeed the 3.5 Ghz frequency band, the one which gave rise to the auctions of last year which brought in almost 3 billion euros to the State, which is considered as the "queen" of the bands. of frequencies and which will offer a "real" 5G.
However, in this field, deployments are still anecdotal with 275 sites at Bouygues Telecom, 410 at Free Mobile, 711 at Orange and 198 at SFR (which belongs to Altice, just like BFM Business, Editor's note). The total is therefore 1594 sites, or just over 15% of the total.
The problem with these numbers is the confusion generated among consumers. And some players think, for example, that we should not combine 700 Mhz and 5G. Like Stéphane Richard, boss of Orange.
"We have chosen 3.5 Ghz frequencies for 5G. The rest is not 5G, even if it could be called it. It is improved 4G", laughs. he. And to assent: "Too bad if it allows others to claim deceptive coverage rates," he said last January during the operator's wishes.