The number of LTE cell sites active across mainland France increased by 391 in January to reach over 42,500 as of 01 February, according to the latest report from spectrum agency ANFR. The overall number of sites authorised but not yet in service stood at nearly 48,200, rising to 50,800 when including 2,635 sites in the French overseas territories. The pace of Orange’s activations slowed down slightly month-on-month to 278 (+292 in December), as it maintained its leading position in overall active LTE sites (21,216).
SFR progressed at a faster pace month-on-month with 224 additions, for a total of 18,566 LTE sites in operation, while Bouygues Telecom’s footprint increased by 90 to reach 17,986. After a very strong December (+620), Free Mobile eased back considerably (+175), closing January with 15,000 sites. According to Arcep, Free Mobile’s LTE network coverage reached 95 percent of the French population as of Q3 2019, compared to 99 percent for its three rivals.
The spectrum agency approved 3.5 GHz pilots in 19 additional locations during January, bringing the total to 464 authorised sites (447 in mainland France and 17 in Reunion). Holding 355 permits, Orange kept its leading position, remaining well ahead of Bouygues Telecom, SFR and Free Mobile (62, 38, and 9 respectively).