SFR launches France’s first public 4G network

Vivendi’s SFR today launched, what is claimed to be, France’s first public 4G network in Lyon.

The launch is a lift for the operator having announced 850 job cuts this week to ensure it remains competitive.

The 4G service will be rolled out to Montpellier on December 18 2012 followed by Lille, Strasbourg and Toulouse in the first half of 2013.

SFR had originally planned to launch its 4G network in early 2013 but was able to push its schedule forward.

The operator hopes that the high-speed service will lure back customers to higher-cost mobile tariffs following a price war sparked this year by the entrance of low cost rival Free Mobile.

Plans will start from €49.99 a month for 2 gigabytes of mobile data.

Both France Telecom and Bouygues are also planning commercial 4G launches next year, with France Telecom already providing services to business customers in some cities.

Nokia Siemens Networks and Huawei are the suppliers for the network.

SFR has been the subject of a number of headlines recently having been linked with French cable operator Numericable and Egyptian tyccon Naguib Sawiris.