French regulator Arcep has issued several new authorisations to develop 5G pilots in the 3.5 GHz band (3400 – 3800 MHz). SFR will be able to carry out technical tests in Lyon for a six-month period, ending in February. The operator has already deployed eight test sites in the city of Toulouse, under a temporary licence that also covers the city of Nantes.
Research centre Eurecom was awarded a six-month authorisation for a technical pilot at its facilities located in Sophia-Antipolis. One of France’s state-funded technology research institutes, B.Com, has been given the go-ahead to continue its testing near Rennes (Cesson-Sevigne) and in Lannion until the end of March. In recent months, the regulator also approved a three-day demonstration by Ericsson, which used 3.5 GHz spectrum for an indoor test carried out in Paris during October.
According to spectrum agency ANFR, Orange is the operator with the highest number of 5G test sites in France, totaling 22 as of 01 of December (5 in Marseille, 12 in the Nord department, 4 in Pau, and 1 near Paris, in Chatillon). This compares with 19 sites operated by Bouygues Telecom in the Gironde department (12 in Bordeaux, 6 in Merignac and 1 in Pessac).