Following the commercial deployment of 4G LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) technology in Toulon, Toulouse and Lyon, French telco SFR has switched on its super-fast mobile broadband network in the city of Marseille, with plans to extend the LTE-A coverage to other major cities by the end of the year. The new network aggregates spectrum in the 800MHz and 2600MHz frequency bands to provide a maximum theoretical download rate of 187.5Mbps, SFR says, although real-world speeds will be somewhat lower. Further, the operator also disclosed that 338,000 households in Marseille are now eligible to connect to its fibre-optic networks.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in October 2013 SFR completed what it described as the ‘first testing of LTE-A in France’, achieving actual download speeds of 174Mbps. Despite being first with a successful trial, SFR had to settle for third place in terms of commercial launches, switching on its LTE-A network in Toulon in mid-October 2014, three months after rival operator Orange’s first launch and four months after Bouygues Telecom.