4G: operators cover 99% of the population, but there are still many white areas

ARCEP has updated its 4G coverage map of France. According to the latest figures, 99% of the population is covered by the four operators. But there are still many so-called “white” areas where no network is available. Of the 5,000 sites identified, nearly 1,300 will be in service before the end of the year and 2,200 others are being deployed. But some sites won’t open until 2024.

We talk a lot about 5G right now. And that’s normal: this new connectivity offers incredible speeds, very low latency and a sharp increase in the number of simultaneous connections compared to 4G. Only, if 5G is already being deployed in dense and semi-dense urban areas (covering 3 million French people), the previous generation is struggling to be accessible by the entire population.

Read also – SFR is champion of 4G deployment in April 2022, France exceeds 60,000 sites

ARCEP recently updated coverage figures for France. And overall, the figures are good, since Orange, Free, SFR and Bouygues Telecom each cover 99% of the French population. Of course, covering the population is not synonymous with covering the territory, because there are white areas inhabited by few French people which are not very “profitable”. And that’s where we talk about the “targeted hedging device”.

Of the 3,500 white areas identified, 1,277 are now covered in 4G

If you are not familiar with this device, know that the French government has produced a list of areas “in which a need for digital development of the territory has been identified”. The goal is to locally and significantly improve the coverage of access to digital services. This list began to be compiled in 2018. And it grew thanks to various amendments. She counts today 3677 (of which 522 were added in February 2022). The objective is to allocate 5,000 per operator, knowing that some locations are shared.

arcep white areas 4g

ARCEP has allocated around 3,400 to each operator. A little less for Orange and a little more for its three competitors. As of March 31, 2021, only 1277 sites have been activated. 1188 sites are shared between the four operators, 27 sites by three operators and 34 sites by only two. An estimated 627 sites remained awaiting activation at the end of March. That is 1904 sites which, potentially, will be open on September 30, 2022. In addition, the operators claim that 1622 sites will be activated between October 2022 and March 2024. That is a total of 3526 sites (this is slightly more than the total number attributed to date because of pooling.

There are more than 60 areas where operators cannot set up

There is good news and bad news in these numbers. Let’s start with the good: the operators play the game and the deployment is relatively constant. If you are in a white zone concerned by this device, you can find the interactive map in the link at the end of this article. The bad news is that there is still a lot of work to do. The operators are only at two thirds of their respective list of areas to cover. And each new location will not be covered until 2024. In addition, Free, Orange, Bouygues and SFR have listed 67 areas “pending deployment” where they encounter difficulties. Sites waiting for more than 3 years! Getting to 100% will take a very, very, very long time.

Source : ARCEP

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