5G: operators in dispersed order before the call for tenders set for September

5G: operators in dispersed order before the call for tenders set for September Cybersecurity

Arcep’s decision to organize the end of the call for tenders for the granting of the precious frequencies devolved to 5G on the “queen band” of 3.5 GHz did not fail to react on the side operators. If the respective directions of Orange and Free have been discreet, taking note of this new episode, this is not the case of those of Bouygues Telecom and SFR who both regret the holding of this call for tenders every month September, which they would have preferred to postpone for several more months.

Asked at the end of the week on the antenna of BFM Business, the director general of SFR, Grégory Rabuel, thus affirmed that he would be very attentive to the progress of this call for tenders and to the conditions of marketing of the new generation of technology. wireless. If he said he was “happy to have a schedule because we need to have predictability as an operator”, he however demanded that the authorities operate “a clarification of what are true 5G and false 5G “.

Before attacking Free, which it believes could be tempted to market 5G offers on the 700 MHz band – efficient on geographic coverage but with low speed – and not on that of 3.5 GHz, which offers the best compromise between bit rate and signal range. “You can deploy 5G in the 3.5 GHz band, which will give the French bandwidth right away, but other operators may intend to deploy 5G in other frequency bands, say 700, which means that you will have written 5G on your phone but that there will be no benefit for consumers since it will sometimes be worse than 4G “, he denounced.

Priority to 4G for Bouygues Telecom and SFR

Like the staff of Bouygues Telecom, the latter also wanted 5G to be part of a more global debate “on the deployment of 4G, fiber and 5G because until then the subjects were split. ” Heard a few days before in the Senate, the CEO of the Bouygues group, Martin Bouygues, had already launched a block in the pond by asking for a redesign of the New Deal Mobile allowing to lower the bill of 5G – which could bring in the low word 2, 17 billion euros in Bercy – by redirecting part of this windfall in the deployment of 1,500 to 2,000 4G sites shared in rural areas.

The CEO assured him, “delaying the 5G auction by five or six months poses no problem for the competitiveness of the French economy”, which above all needs effective 4G coverage across the country. So no problem for the latter, who hit the nail on the head by saying that “it is only from 2023 that the maturity of 5G and the arrival of a second phase of equipment will allow us to consider new uses, especially industrial, thanks to high bit rates and lower latency rates ”.

After having repeatedly promoted the new mobile technology, the Bouygues Telecom staff today seems less sure of its facts. “5G will bring great innovations, especially for businesses. But they will not arrive before 2023. Let us take advantage of the few months that we are asking to accelerate the 4G coverage of the territory. Let’s add antennas where it is necessary ”, advocated a few weeks ago the deputy director general of the operator Didier Casas, even though France has already lagged behind its neighbors with regard to this new technology.

Huawei’s shadow

If it ultimately proved unsuccessful, the media lobbying campaign orchestrated by the management of Bouygues Telecom and SFR should not stop anytime soon. Because in addition to the question of funding, the criticisms of the two operators also relate to the management of the “Huawei case” by the authorities, while the Chinese manufacturer is a major industrial partner of Bouygues Telecom and SFR but is the subject of attention supported by the authorities. All against a backdrop of an American embargo and suspicions of collusion with the Chinese regime.

While 50% of the network deployed by SFR relies on technology developed by the Shenzhen company, the operator estimated that prohibiting or limiting the use of the manufacturer’s technology will have a cost that he does not hear assume. “Things are clear: we had rules of the game, namely that we could deploy our mobile networks with Huawei, and if we change the rules of the game, we must be supported in the consequences of this change”, has thus says Grégory Rabuel. A position shared by the Bouygues Telecom staff.

He recalled that “in the United States, Donald Trump has decided to ban Chinese equipment manufacturers and accompanied the operators who worked with them to help them with their transition”. As a reminder, if the situation of the Shenzhen firm turns out to be precarious in many countries, including our British neighbors, this is not necessarily the case in France. If the manufacturer should indeed benefit from an exceptional regime with regard to the suspicions hanging over him, he should however be authorized to participate in the deployment of future mobile networks.

But only for non-sensitive parts of the network, such as antennas, which are considered to pose less security risks, which is important. At least for Bouygues Telecom and SFR, who seem determined to make their voices heard by the government on this matter which still risks making a lot of talk before the end of the 5G tender.

Source: www.zdnet.fr

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