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French LTE rollout threatened as City of Paris blocks new base stations

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A dispute between French mobile operators and the City of Paris could threaten 3G network upgrades and undermine LTE deployment plans for the capital.

The issue, which revolves around agreed transmitter emission levels, has already seen officials within the City of Paris administration issue an order that suspends the installation of any new cellular base stations on buildings owned by the City.

While there are only 186 base stations installed on City buildings out of a total of 1,200 across Paris, this action could delay moves to upgrade these sites to HSPA and LTE. It could also seriously damage the marketing plans for Free Mobile, the country's fourth operator that is in the process of building its network.

The disagreement has reached a level where City officials are reported by 01net to be exploring legal avenues that could lead to the affected base stations being removed from municipal buildings. The argument centres on the City of Paris refusing requests by operators to increase the maximum exposure to mobile emissions from an average of 2 Volts per metre over 24 hours, to 10 Volts per metre or even 15 Volts per metre.

The operators, via the French Federation of Telecoms, have warned City officials that any disruption to their networks "would be a heavy responsibility vis-à-vis users," adding that operators have ongoing obligations to route emergency calls.

For more:
- see this 01net article (translated via Google Translate)
- see this Telecom Paper article (sub. req.)

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