France may get faster mobile broadband than other countries

But modem technology would have to be improved, according to Qualcomm

French Internet users in rural areas may end up getting faster mobile broadband than other parts of the world, after a minister said that operators would be allowed to buy more spectrum.

Last week, Éric Besson, minister of Industry, Energy and the Digital Economy, said that the country's mobile operators would be allowed to buy up to two 15MHz channels of spectrum -- one for data downloads and one for uploads -- in the 800MHz band, which will be sold in an upcoming 4G auction.

That sets it apart from other European countries, including Sweden and Germany, where operators are only able to buy two channels of 10MHz. In the U.S., Verizon Wireless also uses two channels of 10MHz for its LTE (Long Term Evolution) network. Larger chunks of spectrum mean operators can offer faster speeds, in the same way a road with three lanes can handle more traffic than one with two lanes.

For the faster speeds to become a reality operators have to be willing to buy that amount of spectrum, while networks and modems would have to be able to handle the wider channels. Unsurprisingly, operators are keeping mum about their plans. Orange can't comment formally on the upcoming LTE auctions at the present time, a spokesman said via e-mail.

Current radio base stations for LTE are compatible with the wider channels, according to a spokeswoman at Ericsson.

However, modems will be more challenging. Using larger channels in the 800MHz band would require advances in radio-frequency components technology, according to Qualcomm, which makes the chipsets that go into, for example, USB modems. Such performance improvements are not expected in the short and medium term, since they would require improvement of several orders of magnitude compared to the performance of current components, it said.

The 800MHz band is very attractive to operators, because its signal propagation provides good indoor coverage and can also be used to expand broadband coverage to rural areas. Today, LTE needs 20MHz channels to perform at its best. But that is only available to operators in higher bands, including 2.6GHz -- though that band does not have the same range and indoor coverage as the 800MHz band.

So, having more spectrum may not pay off immediately. But as components evolve that may change. Also, next generation mobile networks will allow operators to use a technology called carrier aggregation to bunch together spectrum in different bands and use them as one data link.

The 1.8GHz band is being pushed by some as an alternative that could offer users and operators a good compromise of speed and coverage.

Caps on the amount of spectrum operators can buy are being put in place to ensure a competitive market. Whether France, in the end, chooses a 15MHz cap over 10MHz remains to be seen. The auction's final details will be announced later this month, according to a spokesman at local regulator ARCEP.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mobilebroadbandtelecommunication3gCarriersFrance Télécom

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?