Orange today announced the launch of its 5G network in 15 French municipalities, as of 3 December, 2020, including Nice, Marseille, Le Mans, Angers and Clermont Ferrand.
Orange said more than 160 municipalities will be covered with 5G by the end of the year. This 3.5GHz 5G launch brings speeds up to three to four times faster than 4G to meet changing customer needs.
“The deployment of 5G network will be done gradually and in a dialogue with all local authorities, in parallel with our efforts to expand coverage of the French territory in 4G,” Stephane Richard, chairman and chief executive officer of Orange Group, said.
On 1 October, during the auction, Orange obtained the largest share of the frequency blocks involved, with 90 MHz of spectrum. This deployment focuses mainly on these new 3.5GHz frequencies and may be supplemented by the use of 2.1GHz frequencies.
The operator has chosen to initially cover areas that are already heavily used in order to avoid any risk of saturation. In fact, between September 2019 and September 2020, data usage on Orange and Sosh tariff plans increased by 40 percent, carrying a risk of saturation of the current networks by 2022.
Orange is continuing its efforts in parallel in the deployment of 4G, with an objective of switching 100 percent of Orange sites to 4G by the end of 2020.
5G antennas activate only on-demand ensuring that they only transmit in the direction of the devices, only when they are needed. By reducing the transmission of signals to the essential, the 5G network is more energy efficient than 4G.