Free appeals for a new 'new mobile phone deal' in exposed areas – photo

He said on Wednesday that the Free operator had appealed to the government and the telecommunications regulator Arcep to extend the “new mobile deal”, signed in 2018 to allow “better quality” mobile phone coverage for all French people. “At the end of 2025, the system will be complete compared to what was identified in 2018. What we propose is to expand the system, build 1,200 (mobile) sites, in exchange for extending the frequencies, the same thing.” “In a way as it was implemented in 2018,” said Nicholas Thomas, managing director of Free. In a letter addressed to the Secretary of State for Digital Affairs, Marina Ferrari, and Laure de la Raudière, President of Arcep, dated April 9, 2024, Frei estimates the financing of 1,200 mobile sites at 555 million euros. “At an individual level, we are ready to make this commitment with 1,200 sites, which we finance ourselves, under the same conditions (as in 2018), by transferring the frequencies of the four operators,” explains the Free director. “We also heard requests from local elected officials and their representatives to benefit from the medium- and long-term vision of mobile coverage of the territory, which is absolutely legitimate,” the State Secretariat for Digital Affairs noted.

“It is clear that the current budget context is not the same as it was in 2018, and if there is an extension of the new mobile deal, it is completely understandable that it cannot be of the same nature and of the same scope. “We can actually prioritize coverage,” the same source adds: “No.” “Nothing is off the table at the moment, and discussions will continue.”

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4G is spreading

To reduce the digital divide, the “New Mobile Deal”, signed in January 2018 between the government, Arcep and the operators, aims in particular to reduce “white zones – city centres”, i.e. areas not covered by mobile networks such as 4G. Since this agreement, the share of French territory that does not benefit from ultra-high-speed 4G mobile coverage has been divided by more than 5%, from 11% to 1.9% in five years, according to a report from Arcep published in February 2024. The area covered by 4G networks has increased fourth by the four major mobile operators (Orange, SFR, Boygues and Free) at the same time from 45% to 88% during the same period.

Brooke Vargas

"Devoted gamer. Webaholic. Infuriatingly humble social media trailblazer. Lifelong internet expert."

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