Bouygues Telecom has published an update to its spectrum refarming project, with frequencies previously used for 2G now being utilised for additional LTE capacity in urban areas and the rollout of LTE-A upgrades. Bouygues is currently reassigning 5MHz of GSM-1800 spectrum for 4G, bringing the total used for 4G to 20MHz, with no 2G services to be offered in the band going forward. The refarming project (which commenced in 2016) involves 35 cities, and has been finalised in around 20, including Paris and Ile-de-France, Lyon, Grenoble, Bordeaux, Clermont-Ferrand, Nice, Brest, Montpellier, Le Havre, Reims and Rouen. Work will commence shortly in Toulouse, Nantes and Lille, with Bayonne, Mulhouse and Strasbourg to follow in mid-2018.
In addition, the operator is refarming a portion of its 2100MHz spectrum holding for 4G, with 10MHz in the band to be used for LTE-A (marketed as ‘4G+’) via carrier aggregation (CA) in the 1800MHz and 2100MHz bands, providing downlink speeds of 225Mbps. With the first tests having been conducted in Grenoble, Avignon and Brest, the spectrum changeover has reportedly been completed in Bordeaux. In the Ile-de-France region, meanwhile, nearly half of the 4G base stations have been modified, with a quarter of LTE sites already active in the 2100MHz band.