SFR launches LTE Advanced in Marseille

France-based SFR has launched LTE Advanced (LTE-A) services in Marseille following earlier launches in the cities of Toulon, Toulouse and Lyon.

The company, which last year was acquired by Numericable, said its "4G+" service allows it to offer theoretical peak speeds of 187.5 Mbps thanks to the aggregation of frequencies in the 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz bands.

SFR first trialled LTE-A services in October 2013, while Orange France and Bouygues Telecom have also made progress with their own LTE-A rollouts.

Earlier in February, Bouygues Telecom announced the demonstration of LTE-Advanced three-band carrier aggregation together with Ericsson and Qualcomm, achieving "ultra-fast" speeds of up to 300 Mbps.

"As the sole French telecommunications company using the three frequency bands authorised for 4G (800MHz, 1800MHz and 2600MHz), Bouygues Telecom becomes the first telecommunications company able to demonstrate this technology in France on a commercial network," the company said.

The demonstration was carried out on Bouygues Telecom's 4G commercial network using a handset equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor with next generation modem, and the multi-standard Ericsson RBS 6000 radio base stations. 

Bouygues Telecom said it would start offering the "ultra fast" mobile broadband service in Lyon this summer, with the first compatible handsets expected to be available in the first half of this year. The operator added that it would initially include the higher speed services at no extra charge in its mobile data offers.

In December last year, Ericsson and Orange also revealed they had achieved data rates of 300 Mbps during trials of FDD LTE-A carrier aggregation technology in October and November.

Also in December, France's telecoms regulator Arcep awarded spectrum in the 1800 MHz frequency band to Free Mobile, which will be able to use the airwaves for the expansion of LTE and LTE-A networks across the country.

LTE-A networks with carrier aggregation technology are now proliferating across the globe: the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) said in January that LTE-A carrier aggregation deployment was the major trend in 2014, with 49 LTE-A networks now commercially launched by operators in 31 countries. The GSA calculates that almost 30 per cent of LTE operators are currently investing in LTE-A technology.

For more:
- see this SFR release (in French)
- see this Bouygues Telecom release

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