France switches on 5G, but mobile white zones remain

Since 2018, some 2,066 so-called 'white zones', where there is little or no mobile phone coverage, have been identified

19 November 2020
By Connexion journalist

The 5G network was officially activated in France on November 18 - but hundreds of communes remain in mobile network deserts.

A total 500 5G antennas are now operating - including 116 branches in Paris, 95 in Marseille, 89 in Lille, 55 in Nantes, 54 in Montpellier, 24 in Lyon, 22 in Toulouse, 19 in Bordeaux and five in Rouen, though eager users will have to wait before they can access it. Operators are awaiting the green light from the National Radio Frequency Agency, according to Europe 1.

Read more: Lille issues ‘moratorium’ on 5G technology

Approval should come before the end of the year - Orange has set a goal of deploying 5G in early December.

But,while mobile network operators are preparing for the next phase of mobile telephony, numerous areas of France find themselves falling behind the times.

Read more: France to increase safety tests on 5G waves

Since 2018, some 2,066 so-called 'white zones', where there is little or no mobile phone coverage, have been identified, according to France Télévisions. A total of 462 areas included in that number were - nominally - covered by 4G.

The 450 residents of the village of Saint-Mard-de-Réno in Orne - nestled between a forest and a hill - struggle to receive any sort of mobile signal. They say the issue puts off potential newcomers to the area. They have been promised a telephone relay … by August 2021.

Read more: Macron: France ‘will adopt 5G’ as a ‘country of innovation’

Read more about France's mobile phone coverage in the December issue of Connexion

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