Wednesday 27 June 2012

SFR joins the RATP in France for 3G and 4G

The subway is at the heart of all desires. After the launch of a free WiFi by GOWEX last week, it was the turn of SFR to partner with the RATP. An agreement has been signed between the two companies, to deploy 3G and 4G in transport underground metros.

RATP was formulated, there are several months ago, a proposal to the attention of telecom operators. There was talk of creation, with a single operator, a joint venture ensuring the development of a network.

Other operators would then negotiate directly with the company for the use of infrastructure, like the MVNO. None of them had responded, for lack of a too high investment and operation in which operators would not.

The negotiations led to another type of agreement, which is reflected first with SFR. The passive infrastructure, such as antennas will be deployed by the RATP, while those active (3G and 4G equipment) will be borne by operators, SFR so for now. The agreement signed between both parties is planned in twelve years from September. This agreement, by cons, is not exclusive. Thus, if other operators wishing to invest in the area, they will "under conditions identical to SFR" We have been assured.

A calendar already established

The deployment schedule is very precise: from October 1, 2012, 3G will be accessible from Chatelet and Gare de Lyon, on the docks, in train stations, trading rooms and on trains. The operator keeps the continuity of its network, for there is no break during navigation (the passage of a dock to a train for example).

In 2013, all stations of Metro Line 1, and the "majority" of stations on lines A and B of the RER should be covered. The objective is to ensure, by 2014, 170 stations in the network the RATP, to allow 75% of traveler’s access to 3G and 4G. The total coverage is in turn expected by end 2015.

On the sidelines of 3G and 4G, SFR announced another agreement, this time around WiFi. Since June 20, 47 metro and RER stations are accessible. An offer close to what GOWEX announced last week, except that the SFR subscribers can, thanks to its technology EAP-SIM to connect seamlessly and without commercials. This agreement with Naxos, a subsidiary of RATP, meanwhile, was signed until March 2014.

The financial issue has been carefully avoided, but SFR and RATP have ensured that these investments will not be passed, whether on bus fares or calling plans. It's a safe bet that the other mobile operators will respond quickly to this agreement.

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