The sharing agreement was signed in 2014 for a period of 20 years
French telecom regulator Arcep said it had received three new amendments to the network sharing agreement between local carriers Bouygues Telecom and SFR.
Once in effect, the network sharing agreement, initially implemented for 2G, 3G and 4G technologies, will be expanded to include 5G technology.
Also, there will be a new increase in shared network’s density, with the addition of new cell sites. The geographical scope of the network sharing deal remains unchanged, Arcep said.
Arcep also said it is calling on market stakeholders to share their feedback on the amendment, with due regard to business confidentiality.
“Bouygues Telecom and SFR have been sharing their networks to provide 2G, 3G and 4G services in a portion of the country since 2014. On January 23, 2023, Arcep received three new contractual amendments signed by both parties whose main purpose was to extend the 5G sharing agreement and deploy new cell sites on the shared network,” the regulator said.
The sharing agreement was signed in 2014 for a period of 20 years. It initially included the sharing of 2G/3G/4G networks over a large portion of metropolitan France, with a temporary 4G roaming solution. In 2016, in an amendment to this contract, Bouygues Telecom and SFR agreed upon a trajectory for the gradual end of SFR roaming on the Bouygues Telecom network by the end of 2018.
In February 2020, a new amendment to the contract was sent to Arcep which covered the future deployment of new 2G, 3G and 4G cell sites, the regulator said.
France had a total of 39,895 authorized 5G sites as of April 1, of which 30,460 were declared technically operational by local operators, according to the latest monthly report published by France’s spectrum agency ANFR.
The spectrum agency highlighted that the number of authorized 5G sites during March increased by 1.4% compared to the previous month. The agency also said that almost all of the 5G sites have been authorized on existing cellular sites, already used by 2G, 3G or 4G technologies.
In France, mobile operators are currently providing 5G services through spectrum in 700 MHz, 2.1 GHz and 3.5 GHz bands.
Bouygues Telecom initially launched 5G in 20 cities across France in December 2020. The telco currently provides 5G coverage in nearly 12,000 towns and municipalities across France. Some of the large cities where the telco provides 5G include Paris, Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse, Nice, Nantes, Montpellier, Strasbourg, Bordeaux and Lille.
Meanwhile, SFR initially launched its 5G commercial network in Nice in November 2020. According to the company’s website, SFR currently provides 5G services in 6,200 municipalities across France.