Free Mobile cuts its 4G a little at night to save energy

Some 4G frequencies used by Free Mobile are unavailable at night. It is a policy desired by the operator to save a little energy. But if necessary, they turn on automatically.

In the same way that you can turn off the PC in the evening to avoid running it for nothing, because it will not be used during the night, it is also possible to interrupt the operation of the relay antennas during the peak periods. during the day – in this case, at night and across the country. It’s politics that Free Mobile has just formalized, October 4, 2021.

Specifically, it is a question of putting on standby the installations working on a precise frequency band, namely the 2600 MHz (or 2.6 GHz). This is used by Free Mobile to convey 4G communications, alongside the frequencies 700 MHz, 800 MHz (which Free does not use, unlike its rivals), 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz. They are not affected by this interruption.

You may not have noticed any change on a daily basis, even though this new policy has been in effect since June 1, 2021. And for good reason: it only covers one frequency and is triggered in the dead of night, between midnight and five in the morning, when the networks are much less used since everyone or almost everyone is sleeping.

Frequencies turn back on when needed

Above all, the mechanism put in place by Free Mobile is flexible: in a press release, the group specifies that it is quite possible for it to reactivate the cells – more than 46,000 are concerned, spread over nearly 16,800 4G sites in 2.6 GHz operated by Free Mobile, according to statistics as of October 1, 2021. This reactivation is in fact controlled automatically, depending on the state of traffic.

The reason why Free Mobile puts part of its frequencies on standby at night is energy sobriety. ” This action made it possible to reduce the energy consumption of the network “, Advances the group in a summary detailing its climate strategy. No particular figure is given, but a promise is made to continue efforts to ” improve the energy efficiency of its networks.

A support for relay antennas. // Source: Coyotechnical, Pixabay

In fact, lower energy consumption from the network results in a lower energy bill, which opens up savings prospects for the group. Savings which must eventually expand with the generalization of 5G, because this generation has, recalls the telecoms regulator, ” better energy efficiency at constant traffic “. It remains to be seen whether this watch policy will also be used with 5G.

Free Mobile is not the first operator to downsize at night. Orange also follows a similar policy: it was spotted in early 2020 by an individual who noted that the frequencies 1 800 MHz and 2 100 MHz, which are used for the historic operator’s 4G, were put on standby at night. They are not reactivated until 6 am, when the demand on the network becomes significantly greater.

Sure: you are paying too much for your 4G plan

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