First half-tint performance of 5G networks in France

The “Gendarme” of telecommunications publishes, Friday, November 19, a study on the quality of mobile networks in France. At this point, the 5G still offers limited gains.


One year after the attribution of the frequencies of the 5g, the new mobile networks represent for the time being that a modest or even non-existent gain for many consumers. This is the finding that appears in reading the Electronic Communications Regulatory Authority and Post (ARCEP) survey, published on Friday, November 19th.

The “Gendarme” of the telecommunications has made more than a million tests on different facets of mobile networks between May and September in metropolitan France with, for the first time, data on the performance of the 5G. The ARCEP tested, in equivalent conditions, the connection for a user who has a plan and a phone eligible for 5G with that of a user with a 4G package and an old generation telephone.

The verdict is globally disappointing. In rural and intermediate areas, the average descending flow rate of users equipped 5G, that is, the speed at which they can open a web page or file, is not better than that of others. It is only in dense areas that the effectiveness of the new networks appears with, for example, an average flow rate of 227 megabits per second (Mbit / s) in Orange against 148 Mbit / s without equipment 5G, or 53% more.

Glass disparities between operators

These measures do not question the new networks as such. “The 5G is still in its infancy. His performances will progress and new features will be progressively proposed by the operators. There is always a phase of acclimation and optimization of new technologies, which had also was observed for the 4G at its launch, “recalls Guillaume Decorzent, Head of Unit Coverage and Mobile Investments at ARCEP.

reassuring point: the tests during which the smartphones have “hung” the 5g, that is to say that they have been able to use the new network, are made at rates substantially higher than those of the 4G, of the order of twice as much at Orange, SFR or Bouygues Telecom.

The bad figures of the 5G come before the fact that the measures go back to an early stage of the deployments of the new antennas: the subscriber wins nothing, or almost, because there is no still 5g nearby. There were approximately 8,000 5G antennas in France late 2020, against more than € 21,000 in November 2021. The trend is expected to extend in the years to come.

It still remains blatant disparities between operators. Thus, the numbers of the regulator have more to make orange smile: the average flow rates found in the operator are greater than those of competition in all types of zone, in 4G as in 5g. Asked by Le Monde, he welcomes the favorite “a real gain of network performance, and not the display of a logo”. The operator sees a validation of its strategy, which consisted of favoring the best frequencies of the 5G, on the band of 3.5 gigahertz, and starting its deployment in dense areas rather than aiming for the greatest number of short-term antennas.

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/Media reports.