Bouygues Telecom switched on its 5G network in 20 major cities today (1 December). The locations in question have been named as: Lyon, Nice, Montpellier, Reims, Le Havre, Toulon, Dijon, Villeurbanne, Le Mans, Aix en Provence, Boulogne-Billancourt, Metz, Saint Denis, Argenteuil, Rouen, Versailles, Montreuil, Nancy, Avignon and Cannes. Going forward, the cellco is targeting national 5G coverage by the end of 2021. As it seeks to rapidly extend its footprint, Bouygues expects to combine its 3.5GHz 5G frequencies with the 2100MHz spectrum that is currently used to support 4G technology.
Also in France, Altice-backed SFR – which launched 5G services in Nice on 20 November – has confirmed plans to extend its coverage to more than 120 municipalities throughout December. The rollouts will take place at selected locations in the agglomerations of Bordeaux, Marseille-Aix-en-Provence, Montpellier, Nantes, Nice and Paris-Ile-de-France.
TeleGeography notes that Bouygues and SFR both acquired 3.5GHz spectrum in France’s recent 5G auction. The Authority of Regulation for Electronic Communications and Posts (Autorite de Regulation des Communications Electroniques et des Postes, Arcep) granted the winning bidders – also including Orange and Free Mobile – permission to launch 5G from 18 November. Orange plans to switch on its commercial 5G network in 15 municipalities on 3 December.