Orange France, the country’s leading cellco in terms of subscribers, has announced that it will commercially deploy Long Term Evolution-Advanced (LTE-A) technology in Strasbourg and Toulouse in July, following Bouygues Telecom’s announcement that it has deployed the technology in six cities. Domestic news source Next INpact reports that the operator will utilise a carrier aggregation (CA) solution, encompassing frequencies in the 800MHz and 2600MHz bands, which provide downlink transmission speeds up to 75Mbps (800MHz) and 150Mbps (2600MHz) respectively, to deliver a combined download rate of 225Mbps. Further, the network will be available in 14 of France’s largest cities by the beginning of 2015. The operator was cited as saying: ‘Our goal is to deploy 4G+ in early 2015 in 14 of the most densely populated cities, which are the main areas for data consumption, and to expand our 4G coverage in these city centres.’
Meanwhile, Orange’s main domestic rival SFR has also pledged to augment its LTE network with the next generation technology, la Revue du Digital reports. Alexander Wauquiez, marketing director at SFR, commented: ‘SFR will launch [LTE-] Advanced at the end of this year in all big cities of France. This is a necessary evolution … it will bring higher speeds.’
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, earlier this week Bouygues announced the successful deployment of LTE-A technology in the cities of Lyon, Bordeaux, Grenoble, Vanves, Issy-les-Moulineaux, Malakoff and Rosny-sous-Bois; going forward, improved connectivity will be extended to 16 of France’s biggest cities later in the year. All three of the incumbent cellcos have previously trialled the technology; in October 2013 SFR completed what it described as the ‘first testing of LTE-A in France’, achieving actual download speeds of 174Mbps by utilising the 800MHz and 2600MHz spectrum bands. Bouygues also tested LTE-A technology in October and achieved downlink transmission speeds of 182Mbps by aggregating frequencies in the 800MHz, 1800MHz and 2600MHz bands. For its part, in February 2014 Orange was authorised to conduct trials of LTE-A in Bordeaux; Orange used a 2×20MHz channel in the 2.6GHz band, aggregated with an identical channel in the 3.5GHz band.