The deployment of 4G in the whole territory will require some time: the obligations imposed on operators by ARCEP, the telecommunications regulatory authority , indeed evoke a coverage of 60% of the metropolitan territory of October 11, 2019 75% in 2023 and 99.6% in 2027…!
By then, many French will continue to rely on the 3G / 3G + technology , which to date remains the most widely used to enjoy digital services on smartphones and tablets with a reasonable rate. What are the main technical characteristics of 3G? How to explain the reception disparities that remain in the territory?
3G / 3G +: a definition
The “3G”, as the name suggests, is the third generation of digital mobile technologies. This is actually a nickname used to refer to the name of this international communication protocol, called UMTS or Universal Mobile Telecommunications System.
3G is designed to facilitate interactive use on mobile digital devices like smartphones or, more recently, on the shelves, allowing the simultaneous transmission of voice (like a normal phone) and packet data or “data” at a rate improved compared to previous generations.
3G is only a stage in the development process and development of mobile technologies, and should briefly recall what the first two generations to better understand progress.
The “1G” (which has in fact never carried this name) corresponds to the earliest mobile phone networks, which used at the time an analog technology. They include, for the record, AMPS (Advanced Mobile Phone System) appeared in North America in the mid-1970s, and its European counterpart, the TACS (Total Access Communication System). These systems allowed a small number of subscribers (mostly businessmen), using very large mobile phones and remained in the legend, back in communication between different urban centers.
The “2G” appears in the early 1990s and is the first generation of digital mobile telephony, based on the popular GSM standard (Global System for Mobile communications). Its maximum speed, which limited to less than 10 Kb / s , hardly allowed that voice and SMS, although the consultation email or MMS made a timid appearance. Successive improvements have allowed the introduction, from 2001 and for some customers of 2.5G (or standard “GPRS” General Packet Radio Service) and finally the 2.75G with EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution).
The main technical features of 3G have been defined by the International Union of Communications (ITU) at the turn of the century with the publication of IMT-2000 standards, or International Mobile Telecommunications for the year 2000. The future 3G, according to this document work was to form a unified global standard, but also be compatible with the second generation (2G) networks for the older mobile phones can still be reached. The required flow rate, meanwhile, went from 144 Kb / s purely mobile use up to 2 Mb / s in limited areas.
To achieve this performance, 3G uses a new high frequency band , including both between 1885 and 2025 MHz and the other between 2110 and 2200 MHz.
Introduced in 2007, the “3G +” or “3.5G” is a 3G has an improved throughput, thanks to a new system called HSDPA or High-Speed Downlink Packet Access. It uses a frequency band situated around 5000 MHz, and achieves (under optimal conditions) a download speed between 8 and 10 Mb / s. The 3G +, however, retains a strong relationship with 3G in as it continues to use the same coding method, namely the W-CDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access).
A cross-channel technology, suitable for mobile use
Originally designed for operation on mobile phones, 3G has been democratized to the public as to be now used on three separate media .
- On mobile phone or smartphone: from the EDUCATIONVV.COM of subscriptions 4G, 3G has become a very standard compared offers from different mobile operators such as Bouygues Telecom, Orange, SFR, Free and Numericable. To qualify, all you need is a 3G enabled phone (which is the case with almost all current models) and a 3G SIM card associated with a subscription combining phone (voice) and the Internet ( data).
- On laptop: Internet access in mobile use directly interested owners of laptops, which can then invest in a “key” 3G or 3G +. This is a small bar with an integrated SIM card, and just plug directly into the USB port of the unit. USB drives are marketed by the majority of operators, and their use is charged at the number of days or hours of use, or the data consumed.
- On touch pad: the first tablets, outings in the late 2000s, have naturally built for some of it 3G technology (the others were content to wireless Internet Wi-Fi).
3G coverage in France: a sensitive subject
The 1 st July 2012, ARCEP assessed 3G coverage of the French population and 98% for Orange and SFR, 95% for Bouygues Telecom and finally to 37% Free Mobile.In fact, it only had just entered the market, and got a roaming agreement with Orange to allow time to build its own network of antennas. The new low cost operator was especially engaged in return to cover at least 90% of the population in 3G by 2018.
Beyond the single case of Free Mobile, the persistence of ” dead zones ” devoid of any 3G reception (and sometimes even deprived of 2G network) regularly continues to make headlines in the French media. Following a meeting on 21 May 2015 and carried out at the initiative of the Secretary of State to digital, 160 municipalities have in particular been identified and will be covered in 2G by different operators by the end of 2016. 2 200 other cities will, moreover, have access to 3G by 30 June 2017.
in case of non compliance with their commitments, operators could face fines from the ARCEP.
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