Telecom Companies in France to Spend $3.7 Billion
France’s four major telecom operators and the government have made an agreement over mobile phone and internet coverage.
The four mobile telephone operators will be spending more than 3 billion euros, or $3.7 billion rolling out a 4G network to ensure there are no coverage gaps by 2020, a government minister stated.
According to Julien Denormandie, a junior minister for territorial cohesion, each of the major operators will be installing 5,000 masts and antennas and jointly ensure network coverage along 30,000 km or 19,000 miles of rail tracks.
The finance ministry confirmed these details later on the day.
Orange, which was the formerly state-owned monopoly France Telecom, Iliad’s Free Mobile, Bouygues Telecom, and SFR have all under-invested in France’s mobile network during the past 15 years, according to the minister.
“I want to put an end to 'The network's bad, I'll call you back',” Denormandie stated on a report.
When asked how much money the state would contribute, the minister responded, “Not a single cent will come from the budget!”
In return for the boosted investment, the government will be extending the telecoms companies’ spectrum licenses instead of holding a new auction, effectively giving up future income, according to Denormandie.
In 2015, the last spectrum auction raised more than 2.8 billion euros for French state coffers.
Meanwhile, some mobile users often complain about the French network, can sometimes seem inferior to coverage in some African countries wherein the telecom companies bypassed fixed lines.
According to Arcep, a telecoms regulator, the 4G networks of SFR, Bouygues Telecom, Orange, and Iliad’s Free Mobile have covered 74 percent, 70 percent, 69 percent, and 47 percent of the population respectively in low-density zones as of July 2017.
Denormandie stated that the three-year rollout plan would bring the 4G coverage to more than 10,000 towns and villages, which is served by either 2G or 3G networks as of this moment.
According to a report, the government is dedicated to providing access to the ultra-fast broadband by 2022.
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Ericka Henderson | January 15, 2018