4G services in France received a major boost today after Vivendi-owned SFR extended its LTE offering to Paris, and Bouygues Telecom unveiled its 4G tariffs ahead of its own 4G launch on 1 October.
SFR, which was the first French mobile operator to launch consumer LTE services at the end of 2012, claims to offer the widest coverage in Paris at present, and said it will cover the entire French capital with its 4G network, as well as 300 municipalities in the Île-de-France region, by the end of 2013.
Paris represents SFR's seventh area to be covered with 4G, and the operator said it is targeting 55 towns and cities by the end of this year. This means that it would then cover 70 percent of the population with LTE and DC-HSPA, with LTE reaching more than half.
Orange, which was the second French operator to launch LTE services to consumers after initially only targeting business customers, said its LTE network is already present in 44 agglomerations and covers more than 150 towns and cities. Like SFR, the operator is also relying on HSPA+ to complement its LTE rollout, and said HSPA+ is now available to 67 percent of the population. Orange's LTE services are also available in some areas of Paris including the business district of La Défense.
SFR and Orange are currently using 800MHz and 2.6GHz spectrum for their LTE services, while Bouygues Telecom plans to make use of refarmed 1800MHz spectrum when it launches LTE services in 100 towns and villages in October.
The operator unveiled its 4G pricing today: LTE services will be available under two new Forfait Sensation 4G plans, one including 3GB of data at €34.99 under a 24-month contract with a handset included, and the other providing 8GB of data at €49.99. Both plans include 50GB of cloud storage, 19 TV channels and unlimited calls and texts.
SFR currently offers LTE services under its Carré plans, starting at €39.99 for 2GB of data under a contract. Orange France offers '4G/H+' speeds under its Origami plans, with 2GB of data costing €46.99 under a contract and with a device. As things stand, enfant terrible Free Mobile has yet to reveal its LTE plans, although the company does have 2.6GHz spectrum at its disposal.