Orange CEO Stéphane Richard on 5G: “160 cities lit, 30 more cities to be deployed very soon”

Orange has already activated 5G in 160 cities across France, the operator’s CEO Stéphane Richard said in an interview with local newspaper Jornal du Dimanche (JDD) on Sunday.  Some of the initial cities covered by Orange’s 5G network include Marseille, Nice, Le Mans and Angers.

“We will very soon deploy 5G in 30 other cities, such as Aix-en-Provence, Brest or Toulon,” the executive said.  Also, that  Orange is currently engaged in talks with the Municipality of Paris for the deployment of 5G in the nation’s capital. Richard said that he expected the activation of 5G in Paris to occur during the first quarter of the year.

He also announced that Orange will donate 10,000 SIM cards before the end of January to FAGE, the main student federation.

More importantly, Richard is worried about the causes of the delay in the deployment of 5G in France.  He told the French newspaper:

“We are indeed not really ahead in the deployment of this technology. In addition to basic problems, the chronology of the last months provides an explanation for the recent tensions. 5G indeed became, in the spring of 2019, a campaign theme for the municipal elections, which did not make things easier, on the contrary. While the authorizations had finally been granted to the operators. France is leaving with almost a year and a half late in the deployment of 5G. It is difficult to know today if she will catch up with him.”

France has already authorized 5G in nearly 7,000 municipalities. The  JDD unveils a preview of the National Frequency Agency map of sites in France authorized to transmit in 5G as shown in this image:

Extrait de la carte de la couverture de la France en 5G.

Orange initially launched commercial 5G services in 15 municipalities at the beginning of December 2020. The leading network operator in France will offer 5G in the 3.5 GHz frequency band.  Orange recently obtained 90 megahertz of spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band. The telco said that its upcoming 5G deployment focuses mainly on these new 3.5 GHz frequencies and may be supplemented by the use of 2.1 GHz frequencies.

The operator said it has chosen to initially cover areas that are already heavily used in order to avoid any risk of saturation.  Richard previously said that the company’s 5G deployment will be done gradually and in a constructive dialogue with all local authorities, in parallel with the carrier’s efforts to expand coverage of the French territory in 4G.

The main auction for 3.4-3.8 GHz frequencies for the provision of 5G in France was completed in early October 2020.  In that spectrum auction, local operators Orange, SFR, Bouygues Telecom and Iliad committed to pay a total of 2.8 billion euros ($3.4 billion) for a total of 11 blocks of 10 megahertz of spectrum.

Telecom regulator Arcep’s specifications for the 5G auction stipulate that each operator must launch 5G services in at least two cities before the end of 2020. Each carrier should deploy 3,000 sites by 2022, 8,000 sites in 2024 and 10,500 sites by 2025.  Eventually, all of the cell sites must provide a 5G service using frequencies in the 3.4-3.8 GHz band or other bands, according to the French regulator.

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What about the ecological risk, in the context of the fight against global warming?
“We have to go back to a little objectivity. Data storage, network infrastructure and equipment manufacturing only represent 4% of greenhouse gas emissions. Of this 4%, 80% of emissions are linked to equipment, from manufacturing to the use of telephones, and only 20% to networks, including data centers. I would remind you that industry is 43%, buildings 26%, while transport represents 25% of emissions. It is therefore wrong to present digital technology as one of the causes of the increase in greenhouse gas emissions, including CO2. One ton of CO2 spent on digital technology is 10 tons of CO2 that is not used everywhere else.

When you do a video conference, you are not traveling: the ecological impact between a video meeting and a physical meeting is reduced from 1 to 100. When you use connected objects in cities, you have more control over energy consumption.

5G technology is much better from an environmental footprint perspective than 4G. It is ten times more efficient on energy consumption. It would take a particular bad faith not to recognize that digital technology itself is the bearer of a solution, rather than the creator of problems. Personally, obscurantism bothers me a lot.

France is a country of engineers, inventors, entrepreneurs. That the refusal of progress develops there is sad.  You have more control over energy consumption. 5G technology is much better from an environmental footprint perspective than 4G. It is ten times more efficient on energy consumption. It would take a particular bad faith not to recognize that digital technology itself is the bearer of a solution, rather than the creator of problems. Personally, obscurantism bothers me a lot. France is a country of engineers, inventors, entrepreneurs. That the refusal of progress develops there is sad.you have more control over energy consumption. 5G technology is much better from an environmental footprint perspective than 4G. It is ten times more efficient on energy consumption. It would take a particular bad faith not to recognize that digital technology itself is the bearer of a solution, rather than the creator of problems. Personally, obscurantism bothers me a lot. France is a country of engineers, inventors, entrepreneurs. That the refusal of progress develops there is sad.a particular bad faith in not recognizing that digital technology itself is the bearer of a solution, rather than the creator of problems. Personally, obscurantism bothers me a lot. France is a country of engineers, inventors, entrepreneurs. That the refusal of progress develops there is sad.

A particular bad faith in not recognizing that digital technology itself is the bearer of a solution, rather than the creator of problems. Personally, obscurantism bothers me a lot. France is a country of engineers, inventors, entrepreneurs. That the refusal of progress develops there is sad.”

Has the mobile telephone sector engaged in the search for carbon neutrality?  Richard answered:

“As president of the GSMA, the alliance that brings together the majority of operators worldwide, I have pushed the sector to make extremely strong commitments in this area. Neutrality will be achieved in 2050, in accordance with the Paris Agreement. And in 2040 for Orange, that is to say very soon. The telecoms industry is particularly ambitious in this area, contrary to what some argue. Its commitments in terms of reducing carbon emissions are the most drastic of all industrial sectors. At Orange, we are also setting concrete targets to reduce electricity consumption, which remains the main difficulty for networks. In Africa, which represents 10% of the group’s activities, we invest in solar energy. As in Jordan, where our solar farms already cover 70% of our local electricity needs.”

References:

https://www.lejdd.fr/Economie/le-patron-dorange-stephane-richard-sur-le-deploiement-de-la-5g-nous-avons-deja-allume-160-villes-4017345

https://www.lejdd.fr/Societe/5g-le-haut-conseil-pour-le-climat-va-rendre-un-avis-attendu-sur-son-impact-environnemental-4013289

https://www.lejdd.fr/Economie/exclusif-la-carte-de-france-de-la-5g-avec-6886-communes-ou-elle-est-autorisee-4008687

Orange’s 5G network reaches 160 cities across France: report

 

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