In this, our second look at the French mobile network experience, we've analyzed our data gathered in the 90 days from the start of August 2020 to see how France’s four national operators — Bouygues, Free Mobile, Orange and SFR — measure up.
Our awards table is completely unchanged from our last report. Orange has retained its grip on all three of our experiential awards— Video Experience, Games Experience, Voice App Experience — along with three other awards: Download Speed Experience, Upload Speed Experience and 4G Coverage Experience. The only one of our awards that remains out of Orange’s reach for now is 4G Availability, which continues to be jointly won by SFR and Bouygues.
While our users have reported lower scores across our experiential metrics than last time — with a couple of exceptions — on the whole the mobile experience has proven resilient given the unique challenges operators have faced in 2020. All four operators have kept the same ratings as they earned in our previous report for Video Experience and only one operator — Orange — has dropped down a category for Voice App Experience and even then it has merely drawn level with its peers. In addition, our users on Free Mobile and SFR’s network saw their Video Experience scores improve by 1.9 and 0.1 points, respectively.
France is late to the 5G party, but its arrival is imminent given that ARCEP has completed the auctioning of the 3.5 GHz band to mobile operators, with some pretty significant strings attached. The regulator has recently said that 5G networks could begin commercial operations this month (November).
Once 5G is live, those consumers who invest in 5G smartphones can expect much faster download speeds and are likely to consume more data per SIM than those who stick to their 4G-only devices because of the increased capacity that the new 5G wireless spectrum offers. However, rolling out a new generation of mobile technology is the work of years and it will take a while before our French users observe the same sense of reach for 5G that they currently do with 4G.