French telecom regulator Arcep has authorised an amendment to the existing network sharing agreement between Bouygues Telecom and SFR to include 5G technology. The duo submitted the contractual amendments to the regulator in January 2023 and following a public discussion on the topic, Arcep disclosed that it does not appear necessary to request that Bouygues Telecom and SFR modify their agreement: ‘In particular, the addition of 5G technology and the reassessment of deployment objectives for new cell sites on the shared network help to satisfy the quality of service requirements fuelled by ongoing advances in mobile services and new generation network coverage needs.’

The sharing agreement between the two operators was signed in 2014 for a period of 20 years. It initially included the sharing of 2G/3G/4G networks over a large portion of metropolitan France, with a temporary 4G roaming solution. In 2016, in an amendment to this contract, Bouygues Telecom and SFR agreed upon a trajectory for the gradual end of SFR roaming on the Bouygues Telecom network by the end of 2018. In February 2020 a new amendment to the contract was sent to Arcep which covered the future deployment of new 2G, 3G and 4G cell sites. TeleGeography notes that SFR initially launched its 5G commercial network in Nice in November 2020, with Bouygues Telecom following suit in December 2020; SFR currently provides 5G coverage in 7,000 municipalities, while Bouygues claims 5G coverage in nearly 12,400 towns and municipalities.

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