Following the opening of Free Mobile’s 5G network, several subscribers carried out technical tests to assess the speed. Performance is twice as high in 5G as in 4G on 3500 MHz antennas. However, the latency time remains quite high. And the speeds recorded on a 700 MHz antenna are lower, approaching those in 4G +.
Free Mobile is at the heart of the news this week. The operator not only activated its 5G network a few days ago, but its iconic boss, Xavier Niel, also made a shock announcement. 5G connectivity is included in all Free Mobile plans, at no extra cost. The package 19.99 euros therefore becomes 5G compatible, quite simply. And the others too …
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This announcement was accompanied by other information. Free Mobile has converted over 5000 antennas in 700 MHz and 800 MHz, previously used for 4G, to create its national 5G network. This network is accompanied by 3500 MHz antennas created to carry 5G.
Today it is the densest French 5G network, far ahead of the competition. However, in its observatory published this week, Arcep, the tricolor telecoms gendarme, explains that the 700 and 800 MHz frequency bands offer less interesting speeds than the 3500 MHz bands.
Flow rates that can be up to 2 times higher
To be sure, several Internet users have carried out tests and have compared with Free’s 4G network, but also that of Orange. These tests were carried out on a 700 MHz antenna and on a 3500 MHz antenna. This makes it possible to realize the performance gains between the different GSM technologies. You can see some tweets posted by these techies below.
First observation, there is a strong difference between the speed offered by a 5G 700 MHz antenna and a 5G 3500 MHz antenna. More of 300 Mb / s en pointe with the first and more than 500 Mb / s peak for the second. On average, the speeds are more around 230 Mb / s and 430 Mb / s, respectively. The difference is therefore 200 Mb / s between the two technologies. It is not far from doubling.
Second interesting comparison, between 4G and 5G with a 700 MHz antenna. The difference is no longer so important. Free Mobile’s 4G offers speeds around 200 Mb / s. Note that these are not the best speeds in terms of 4G. At Orange, in particular, you can easily exceed 200 Mb / s, or even exceed, under very good conditions, the 300 Mb / s.
Less significant gains with a 700 MHz antenna
Faced with a 5G 700 MHz antenna, Free Mobile’s 4G is therefore less good (but not by much). And Orange’s 4G offers similar or even better performance. On the other hand, faced with a 5G 3500 MHz antenna, all 4G networks are well below. Bandwidth goes from single to double, quite simply. And that’s just the beginning. The speeds will continue to be improved over time, both in 3500 MHz and 700 MHz. Experts say it takes two years to see much bigger gains.
Third interesting information, Free’s 5G, whether on the 700 MHz or 3500 MHz frequency band, the latency is quite high. We remember that one of the promises of 5G was precisely to reduce latency considerably. It very frequently exceeds the 50 ms, while it rarely exceeds the 40 ms in 4G at Orange. A test carried out in 4G on the Free Mobile network also shows high latency. So it would not be the fault of 5G.
First tests 5g 700mhz @free in Fréjus, Tour de Mare. On Iphone 12. Tests in front of my home 70m from the 818057 antenna. And comparison with the 4g of @ orange on Iphone 11. Good Orange is much better than free at home but better oriented antenna for Orange. pic.twitter.com/1sHoIZ8YlS
– Fcl (@ kaki33) December 15, 2020