Orange CEO Stéphane Richard has clarified the conditions for launching 5G next week. Like the three other big operators, it will obtain authorization frombroadcast in 5G on the 3.5 GHz band from November 18. Arcep had assumed that it would take a few more days for operators to be ready, but the incumbent says otherwise. “We can have access to 5G from November 18 where obviously there are 5G antennas”, he announced on the set of BFMBusiness.
Orange first in number of 5G antennas
France already has around 500 antennas deployed in 5G which are not yet accessible to the general public. Orange has the most mobile stations: 353, according to the latest ANFR figures from 1er November. It is followed by Bouygues Telecom (73), SFR (54) and Free Mobile (9).
The incumbent operator tested 5G at 3.5 GHz in the territories of Sophia Antipolis, Marseille, along the TGV Lyon / Mâcon line, in Pau, Lille, Douai, Châtillon, Saint-Denis, Villejuif, Linas and Paris. These sites will therefore probably be the first to serve 5G. But not only.
Orange’s mobile network switches entirely to 4G
As Stéphane Richard reminded us, 5G could already be launched commercially now on a band other than 3.5 GHz. It would suffice for that to reallocate a 4G band, such as 700 MHz or 800 MHz.
Orange also intends to gradually migrate some of its 4G antennas to 5G. “Initially, which will be long, we will not build new 5G antennas, we will keep the current antennas and upgrade them to 4G and 5G”, said Stéphane Richard. He took the opportunity to announce that the entire Orange mobile network will have completely switched to 4G by the end of 2020.