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The 5G race is on!

Created: Tuesday, 13 August 2019 Written by Mel Aldous

Fast forward.

We come to France for a slower pace of life but we still like our internet to be super-speedy! Things are starting to move on that front as the country starts to gear up for 5G.

Procedures have officially been launched for allocating 5G frequencies to telecom operators, hoping for a first commercial roll-out in a few major French cities by the end of 2020 and coverage of two thirds of the population by 2026.

All the major networks are expected to have their bids in by the deadline of end 2019 so work can start in 2020. The regulator, Arcep, will offer companies the first frequencies at a fixed price and then hold an auction for the rest. The income from these bids is expected to reach between 3-5 billion euros!

5G is reputed to be up to 20 times faster than 4G and is being compared to fibre optics on your phone. So, for average daily use, you’ll be able to do all the things that are currently possible with 4G, but faster and more reliably. Reaction time is expected to be almost instantaneous so examples of other uses are long distance surgery and, with the expected coverage of the Motorways, this will mean the implementation of driverless cars as they can respond in a millisecond, to name but 2 examples.

The downside however is that our current phones will not be compatible and 5G packages are likely to be more expensive to help the operators pay for the acquisition of said frequencies. Given that a lot of us who live in rural areas still don’t have 4G coverage and are subject to “zones blanches” (no coverage at all for mobile phones) it will be interesting to see whether the main telecoms operators heed the pressure of the government to provide 5G to more rural areas!