French carriers to share HSPA900 network

French carrier SFR has tapped up vendor Nokia Siemens Networks in a world first: creating a 3G 900MHz network which will be shared at the access level with the country’s two other operators – Orange and Bouygues.

NSN will upgrade and build out SFR’s network in rural France, putting HSPA+ capabilities on the carrier’s 900MHz infrastructure, which was previously used for GSM. The RAN (Radio Access Network) will be shared with Orange and Bouygues although NSN will also run the infrastructure as part of a managed services contract.

The three French operators, perhaps reluctantly, signed a network sharing agreement in February, after increasingly firm persuasion from regulator Arcep.

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