French Mobile Operators to Invest €3 bn to Expand 4G LTE Coverage

France’s mobile carriers are planning to spend more than €3 billion on the deployment of 4G LTE networks in underserved areas across the country to eliminate coverage gaps by 2020, according to Julien Denormandie, French junior minister for territorial cohesion.

Journal du Dimanche (JDD) writes that Orange, SFR, Bouygues Telecom and Iliad’s Free Mobile have agreed to install 5,000 masts and antennas and jointly ensure network coverage along 30,000 km of rail tracks.

Three billion euros in investments, 5,000 additional installations

Speaking exclusively to Journal du Dimanche, Julien Denormandie writes:

"I want to finish with the 'I do not capture, I'll remind you!'" In the JDD , Julien Denormandie, Secretary of State to the Minister of Territorial Cohesion, announces a "historic agreement" between the four main operators telecoms that "will allow to change the daily life of the French". This one was concluded on Friday morning. Objective: to end the "white areas" , these territories deprived of Internet or quality mobile networks. Emmanuel Macron had already promised this summer, setting for the end of 2020 the "high and very high speed" in France.

For several months, you worked on a deal with the mobile operators to ensure better coverage in the territory. Is it finally concluded?

Yes! We have engaged in intense negotiations with the four main operators to significantly improve the territory's mobile coverage. The Prime Minister had set an ultimatum: we reached Friday morning with this agreement with them, on the proposal of Arcep, the telecom policeman. This is a historic agreement that will change the daily life of the French.

What is this agreement about?

I want to finish with the "I do not catch, I'll call you back!" This is what we suffer too often on the territory. For that, there is only one solution: to reinforce the infrastructures of telephony, antennas, pylons or others ... With this agreement, the operators undertake to invest much more and much more quickly in the infrastructures, and this on a binding basis!

In concrete terms, what are the terms of the agreement?

We will do in three years what we have done so far in fifteen years to deploy mobile telephony! I do not want to put the operators in the limelight, but their past investments have not been sufficient in amount and pace of deployment in sparsely populated areas. Through this agreement, they pledge to make more than 3 billion euros of financial effort to get there. We will also improve the quality of service, which was not good. Until now, we considered as "covered" a village where an operator was present, but without worrying about its quality of service! Tomorrow, he will have to provide a good quality service. Thanks to our agreement, there will be no more "white areas", identified by local elected officials, where French people live without having access to quality telephony.

How many pylons or antennas will it take to get this result? 

We asked each operator to provide 5,000 additional installations. In some places, like the current white areas, they will have to pool, and therefore share the equipment. In addition, they undertake to cover the main transport routes, including 30,000 km of railway lines, including TER lines. So it's a win-win deal for the entire population.

Read the full JDD article at the link below (french).


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