France expects commercial 5G in at least one major city in 2020
The initiative is part of the government’s 5G roadmap to foster technology development in France
The French government said it expects at least one major city to have commercial 5G services by 2020 as one of the key initiatives of the country’s 5G roadmap, which was launched this week and has the main aim of facilitating the development and deployment of this new technology in France.
This follows through on the agreement reached between the government, telecom regulator Arcep and mobile operators on January 14, aimed at rapidly achieving a high standard of coverage across the whole of France, by stepping up the pace of 4G rollouts.
“5G is strategically vital to France’s industry, the competitiveness of our economy, innovation and revitalised public services. Starting in 2020, 5G is promising to deliver a jump in technological performances and pave the way for a variety of new uses for both consumers (ubiquitous 3G video streaming, etc.) and businesses (development of disruptive applications in every sector),” Arcep said in a statement.
The roadmap sets a number of targets, including:
– Launch several 5G pilot projects in a variety of regions, and host some of the world’s pioneer industrial 5G applications;
– Allocate new 5G frequencies
– Provide 5G coverage of the main transport routes by 2025.
France’s 5G roadmap draws on the feedback the government obtained from the consultation that ended in the first quarter of 2018, and incorporates Arcep’s work program. Four major courses of action were thus identified:
– Free up and allocate radio frequencies for 5G networks;
– Foster the development of new uses;
– Support the deployment of 5G infrastructure;
– Ensure transparency and dialogue over 5G rollouts and keep the public informed.
Arcep also highlighted that a number of working groups, chaired by the involved authorities and government departments, are being created to identify expectations and undertake actions in the identified areas.
The regulator also said that the first trials are already underway or in the planning stage in Belfort, Bordeaux, Douai, Grenoble, Lannion, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Toulouse and Sophia-Antipolis.
The government and Arcep also announced the launch of eleven new trials in the Ile-de-France region, including three connected-vehicle use cases.
In January this year, Arcep had announced it was planning to issue temporary frequency authorizations to develop 5G pilots in France. The regulator said it will offer spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band (3400 – 3800 MHz) in the metropolitan areas of Lyon, Bordeaux, Nantes, Lille, Le Havre, Saint-Étienne, Douai, Montpellier and Grenoble.
These initial 5G trials will allow Arcep to obtain initial feedback on the use of 5G networks. With the information obtained from future 5G trials, the regulator said it will pave the way for the allocation procedure for future 5G licences.
Earlier this month, local telecom operators Orange and Bouygues Telecom have announced new developments in their respective 5G test programs, announcing new trials in new locations.
Following tests in the cities of Lille and Douai, Orange announced plans to launch 5G tests in Marseille, after receiving approval from Arcep to use the 3.7-3.8 GHz band.
Meanwhile, Bouygues Telecom said it has completed what it claimed to be France’s first 5G pilot under real-world conditions. In partnership with Chinese vendor Huawei, the telco conducted various tests in Bordeaux. The tests saw a peak downlink speed of 2.3 Gbps and latency as low as 7.5 milliseconds. Bouygues said the test was based on non-standalone (NSA) 5G technology.
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