Free Mobile has secretly signed an agreement with Carrefour, which will allow it to use some 150 car parks and roofs of the company’s stores to set up new antennas and improve the coverage of its 3G, 4G and 5G network.
This agreement was concluded at a time when locally the operator often faces strong opposition from town halls and the population to the installation of these relays, particularly in rural areas.
It is in the midst of a controversy surrounding the installation of an antenna in the car park of a Carrefour in the city of Graces that the existence of this agreement was revealed.
Free Mobile Partners With Carrefour To Deploy Its Relay Antennas
A petition is circulating to ban this antenna, sometimes on behalf of the “precautionary principle” or the “environmental code” – a petition that would have obtained just over fifty signatures according to the daily newspaper.
Unfortunately, since these antennas are installed on private property, the inhabitants seem unlikely to get the antenna removed.
Thus, in mid-April, the mayor of Graces Yannick Le Goff (PS) became aware of the project – but was unable to oppose its implementation, despite an unfavourable opinion.
It was on this occasion that he learned of the existence of a national agreement allowing Free Mobile to install its relay antennas on 150 sites belonging to Carrefour.
Visibly powerless in the face of this situation, the Mayor of Graces regrets, quoted by Ouest-France, that he has to explain himself instead of the supermarket chain:
“Certainly, it is in my commune, but it is especially in a private domain. In the end, it would even be more up to Carrefour to be there. Carrefour takes the royalties and I reap the anger. You think that’s normal?”.
Since its inception, Free Mobile has lagged behind its competitors in terms of network coverage and continues to install antennas.
But the operator also often faces strong local opposition (especially in the territories) concerned about the consequences of this explosion of electromagnetic waves on the health of the inhabitants.
As the Mayor of Graces points out, Free Mobile could undoubtedly avoid controversy by playing the game of pooling networks.
But this has not yet been achieved, and it is likely that competition will not make it easy for the operator – the latter having literally boosted the prices of the mobile telephony market and the revenues of the sector in France.
Free Mobile is justified by stressing that it is “committed to a sustained program of deployment of Mobile Broadband (3G) and Very High Speed Mobile (4G) in all territories”.
Partnering with Carrefour to deploy certain antennas could therefore save the operator from many of the hassles associated with installing certain antennas… Intersesting case to follow.