France’s mobile operators increased their 5G rhetoric as both Orange and SFR unveiled new test sites and Bouygues Telecom claimed the country’s first real-world pilot of the new network technology.
Orange and SFR made separate announcements, within hours of each other, stating regulator Arcep had approved the expansion of 5G tests in new areas.
Market leader Orange will conduct a pilot in Marseilles, in addition to its existing sites under development in Lille and Douai. SFR is set to deploy its new trial networks in Nantes and Toulouse, having already collaborated with Nokia on a scheme in Paris.
As the two largest operators by connections announced new trial plans, third-placed Bouygues Telecom announced it had commenced France’s first “5G pilot in real conditions” in Bordeaux. SFR said in May it had completed the country’s first 5G test in a “real-life” situation, though this was a lab-based experiment.
Earlier this week Orange unveiled initial results from its first fixed wireless access 5G test in Romania, which forms a central part of its European 5G strategy alongside the trials in France.
Arcep announced in January it would offer temporary licences to operators to test 5G across nine urban areas, with the French regulator also open to requests in other regions.
In June, France’s other operator Free Mobile – operated by Iliad – said 5G was an important evolution but not part of its immediate priorities.