Free Mobile caught its competitors by surprise by activating its 5G network in much of France: 40% of the population covered from day one, well ahead of its three competitors combined. To achieve this, Xavier Niel’s operator uses the 700 MHz frequency band, which is now used for both 4G and 5G, where other operators have installed new antennas.
The speeds expected in Free Mobile are less good than in Orange, SFR and Bouygues Telecom, but the 5G network is present in all the main cities of the country … or almost. Like other French mobile operators, Paris is excluded from this 5G coverage. A citizen consultation is being carried out and the launch of the new standard awaits its conclusions:
However, Free Mobile is conducting large-scale experiments in the capital. One of our readers briefly captured 5G this morning in the 9th arrondissement of Paris. The opportunity to see that, in this case, the performance gains are not there, with a similar download speed and a lower upload speed in 5G than in 4G. At best, we can notice a slight decrease in latency, but not significantly.
A single test is not enough to seriously conclude on the expected performance in 5G, especially since Free Mobile has not officially activated the network in Paris. Also, our reader noted that it passed from one generation to the next over time, proof that the network is not fully functional to date. Other clients have also obtained net performance gains when switching to 5G network.
The other operators have been deployed in higher frequencies, synonymous with better speeds and also shorter range. As we saw in Lyon at Bouygues Telecom, you can get great results outdoors, but only in certain specific locations:
Free Mobile’s 5G network should have a larger presence, but with less impressive speeds.
Updated on 12/28/2020 4:31 PM – Another reader informed us that Free’s 5G was active in Paris for him almost from the announcement of the launch of the operator’s offers. It probably depends on the neighborhood, your tests were done further south, mostly at 13ᵉ near the BNF.
If you are in Paris and on Free Mobile with a 5G compatible smartphone, feel free to indicate in the comments whether you benefit from the new network or not.
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