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Home5G knowledgeFrance's 5G base expands: 10 Million Active SIMs and Over 33,000 5G...

France’s 5G base expands: 10 Million Active SIMs and Over 33,000 5G Sites

France has achieved a significant milestone in the second quarter of this year.

According to the authoritative telecom regulator Arcep, the number of active mobile SIMs on 5G networks in the country reached an impressive 10 million. This surge represents a notable increase of 1.1 million since March, bringing the percentage of active SIM cards on 5G networks to 13% during the second quarter.

While 5G is making impressive strides, it’s worth noting that 85% of the installed base still relies on 4G, with a substantial 70 million active SIMs. The broad coverage of 4G across the nation is remarkable, as all four network operators now boast over 99% coverage of the French population. Each 4G SIM, on average, consumed 15.4 GB of data per month during the second quarter, a significant increase from 13.6 GB in the same period the previous year.

Delving into network deployments, the number of 5G cell sites actively transmitting signals across mainland France has reached an impressive 33,435 as of October 1st. Data from the spectrum agency ANFR reveals a slowing pace of deployment in September compared to August, with 562 new sites added during the former month, partly due to a dip in deployment activity by Free Mobile in the 700 MHz band.

During this same period, Orange emerged as a frontrunner in the race to expand 5G networks, adding the highest number of new 5G sites among its competitors, with an impressive increase of 336 sites. Their exclusive focus remains on the expansion of their 3.5 GHz network.

In contrast, SFR and Bouygues Telecom are directing their efforts towards both the 3.5 GHz and 2,100 MHz frequencies. SFR added 215 new sites, while Bouygues Telecom expanded by 209 sites month-on-month.

When considering the overall 5G landscape, Free Mobile maintains its leading position with a network footprint just shy of 18,000 sites as of October 1st. Their extensive 700 MHz coverage, totaling 17,979 sites, contributes to their impressive reach.

According to Free Mobile’s official website, 5G is now accessible to over 90% of the population across the 700 MHz and 3.5 GHz bands. Bouygues Telecom secures the second-largest 5G network in France, with a formidable 11,527 sites, surpassing SFR’s 10,192 sites and Orange’s 7,867 sites.


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