While operators are progressively activating their 5G networks with loads of publicity, the UFC-Que Choisir has analyzed the coverage maps obtainable at present and is indignant at their lack of transparency and relevance. In view of the dangerous penalties for shoppers, the affiliation offers notice to Bouygues Telecom, Free Mobile and SFR to switch the presentation of their cards, and formally asks Orange to supply technical particulars on its communication. At the identical time, it calls, greater than ever, the Regulatory Authority of the sector and the Secretary of State for the digital transition to lastly set up rules imposing advantage on operators.
5G: a protean know-how requiring clear and related communication
Behind the generic time period 5G cover very contrasting realities associated to the completely different frequencies used. Indeed, if the brand new 3.5 GHz cellular frequency is ready to provide speeds very considerably larger than these of 4G, it’s not the identical for the opposite frequencies used or within the strategy of getting used. know the frequencies 700 MHz and 2100 MHz. Until now utilized in 4G, these frequencies should not more likely to provide considerably larger speeds as soon as configured in 5G, and subsequently don’t in themselves justify the subscription of 5G subscriptions which are sometimes dearer.1nor the devoted buy of 5G suitable smartphones.
It is within the mild of this commentary that the UFC-Que Choisir has been pleading for greater than a 12 months for the event of rules requiring operators to speak in a clear and related method, significantly asking the Authority Regulation of Electronic Communications (ARCEP) to impose guidelines on the presentation by operators of 5G coverage cards, in an effort to permit shoppers to simply perceive the intricacies of 5G. Unfortunately, ARCEP solely revealed easy “recommendations”, that are each incomplete and never legally binding. The details present at present, if want be, that what appears to be like like a laissez-faire leads, as we introduced and feared, to specious advertising and marketing.
SFR: a pink blanket of confusion
If, up to now, SFR has solely formally communicated on the one official opening of its 5G community in Nice2, nonetheless, he not too long ago indicated3 an extension of its coverage to 120 cities in December 2020, with out additional calendar particulars. Coverage map evaluation4 that it makes obtainable to shoppers underlines that the opening already goes past town of Nice. But what a large number to navigate, because the operator exhibits 4 varieties5 5G blankets!
Beyond a complicated alternative of colours, studying the map is enormously sophisticated by the lack to pick just one sort of canopy to show. What’s extra, given the phrases used, shoppers uninformed concerning the intricacies of 5G will by no means know from studying the map what differentiates the areas coated on the three.5 GHz or 2100 MHz band. However, in the most effective of circumstances, the areas coated by the latter show speeds 5 occasions decrease than these coated by the previous, and subsequently shut, and typically decrease, than these of 4G. Finally, the data in regards to the present 5G coverage, no particulars are given on the frequencies used.
Bouygues Telecom: the artwork of false transparency
While ARCEP recommends that operators not combine 3.5 GHz coated areas on their coverage maps with these coated with frequencies providing decrease speeds, it have to be famous that whereas respecting the letter of this suggestion, Bouygues Telecom betrays its spirit. Indeed, if the operator distinguishes on his cowl card6 5G zones relying on the frequency, it doesn’t provide any operational info to shoppers.
Indeed, past a really timid differentiation of colours of the zones relying on whether or not 5G is carried by the frequency 3.5 GHz or 2100 MHz, it’s notable that Bouygues Telecom adopts a follow aimed toward suggesting that there’s an equivalence of high quality between the 2 frequencies, by assigning them the identical qualifier of “high bands”. Going additional within the info, we additionally word for one or the opposite of the frequencies, the indication associated to the use is equivalent: “You ought to be capable of alternate knowledge in 5G […] outdoors buildings typically’. Big deal ! Therefore, shoppers should not in a position to perceive that by taking out a 5G subscription in an allegedly coated space, they may completely properly not profit from any qualitative leap when it comes to velocity in comparison with their present 4G subscription.
Free Mobile: 96% off 5G
While Free Mobile opened its 5G community this morning7, it’s clear that the operator’s communication doesn’t meet the requirement for readability, whereas the technological selections made by the operator make it significantly obligatory. Indeed, Free Mobile is the one operator to have determined to make use of the 700 MHz frequency band, which provides the bottom 5G speeds and equal to these hitherto supplied in 4G. Yet the operator, who makes use of in 96% of circumstances8 this frequency for its 5G, doesn’t specify this important component, having a generalization about 5G in line with which it provides “ultra fast” speeds. Worse, the operator is focusing consideration on the strengths of the 700 MHz frequency (propagation, and so forth.) that are clearly much less related to shoppers.
As for the proposed coverage map9, if it clearly distinguishes the zones in line with the kind of coverage, the absence of data on the standard related to every frequency doesn’t in actuality permit shoppers to know that in an space coated solely in 700 MHz, the subscription of ‘a subscription with Free Mobile may provide no added worth when it comes to speeds.
Orange: particulars to be supplied on speeds
Regarding the Orange coverage map10 the truth that it doesn’t seem as it’s11 that just one sort of 5G coverage shouldn’t be open to criticism, since these are areas coated solely in 3.5 GHz12. On the opposite hand, the query arises of the relevance of the utmost velocity of two.1 Gbit / s introduced by the operator.13. Indeed, by referring particularly to technical work revealed inside the framework of a gathering organized by ARCEP, we are able to deduce that on this 3.5 GHz frequency band the utmost theoretical throughput of which operator n can boast. is definitely 1.6 Gbit / s14. Since the difficulty of speeds is decisive in informing shoppers, Orange should make clear its communication.
Concerned about offering shoppers with info that greatest sheds mild on their understanding of 5G coverage maps, and within the mild of noticed practices, UFC-Que Choisir:
- Calls on Bouygues Telecom, Free Mobile and SFR to switch the presentation of their coverage maps, in order to visibly present the variations within the high quality of 5G relying on the frequency used;
- Formally requests Orange to supply all of the technical particulars supporting its communication on the theoretical most velocity in areas the place the operator solely operates the three.5 GHz frequency.
In addition, the affiliation calls on Cédric O, Secretary of State for the digital transition and digital communications, and ARCEP to work immediately on the event of rules governing the communication of operators on 5G to ensure shoppers with dependable, comprehensible and related info.
UFC-Que Choisir additionally offers notice to Orange
After the publication of our press launch, Orange prolonged the coverage of its 5G community, and up to date its coverage map accordingly, with a distinction between zones relying on whether or not they’re coated in 3.5 GHz or 2100 MHz. As with different operators, the lack of awareness on the map as to the nuances when it comes to speeds relying on the kind of coverage is detrimental to shoppers’ understanding of the heterogeneous nature of 5G.
As a consequence, the UFC-Que Choisit additionally offers notice to Orange to switch its 5G coverage map to obviously point out the variations in high quality relying on the frequencies.
(1) The market worth evaluation carried out on December 15 highlights that for plans providing the same amount of cellular knowledge, the costs of 5G plans are 5 euros dearer than the 4G equivalents at Orange and SFR.
(5) See boxed in pink within the illustration.
(8) In variety of websites.
(11) Statement of the quilt card taken at 1:00 p.m.
(12) An evaluation of the information revealed by the National Frequencies Agency certainly exhibits that in these areas solely 3.5 GHz frequencies seem to have been approved to transmit in 5G.
(14) Consequently, the velocity talked about by Orange displays that allowed by the aggregation of two 5G frequency bands and is subsequently in actuality fictitious in areas completely coated by 3.5 GHz.