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SFR, Free change 4G claims after regulator ruling

on 11 July 2014.

The French regulator has forced SFR and Free Mobile to correct their 4G coverage claims, after both French operators were found to have published “less accurate” figures than rivals.

ARCEP has published its first report into the country’s LTE networks, in additional to its existing reports into the 2G and 3G markets.

Bouygues leads the way with 70 percent population coverage across 22 percent of France. Orange is close behind with 66 percent population coverage across 18 percent of the territory.

In a report issued last month, ARCEP dubbed Orange the country’s best 2G and 3G operator, after it performed well in a substantial number of categories compared to rivals.

However, ARCEP criticised Free Mobile and “specifically” SFR, for reporting “less accurate” 4G claims in their coverage maps. According to the regulator’s figures SFR has 30 percent population coverage across 1.7 percent of territory and Free Mobile 24 percent coverage across 1.5 percent of France.

ARCEP said both operators had now corrected their 4G maps and added: “ARCEP will work to ensure that the reliability of these maps continues to increase as time goes on.”

The regulator said it had taken almost 300,000 measurements during the past year. It said it was also launching an “Observatory” to provide consumers with information on content of contracts, price, quality of service and coverage.

The first 4G service in France was launched in November 2012. According to ARCEP, the median 4G LTE download speed is 17.9MBps, compared to 7.2MBps on 2G and 3G networks. Upload speeds are 5.5MBps on 4G, compared to 1.5MBps.

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