YOU ARE AT:5GFrance sets conditions for 5G spectrum auction

France sets conditions for 5G spectrum auction

France plans to make 5G spectrum available in 50 megahertz blocks

French regulator Arcep has published and submitted to the government the conditions for awarding licences to use frequencies in the 3.4 GHz to 3.8 GHz band in France, the regulator said in a release.

“The 3.4-3.8 GHz band is the core band for 5G whose deployment promises to make French businesses more competitive and drive innovation, in addition to satisfying users’ expectation of having access to increasingly powerful mobile services,” Arcep said.

Earlier this year, Arcep had published a draft version of this decision for public consultation, which ran until September 4.. Following this consultation, Arcep has confirmed the main pillars of its initial proposal, while also making several adjustments.

The specifications include a first allocation phase that enables a maximum of four candidates to obtain a block of spectrum in exchange for a set of optional commitments. The regulator highlighted that the French government decided to set the size of each block at 50 megahertz.

“It is now up to the Government to set the financial conditions for the call for applications, particularly the reserve prices, then to launch the frequency allocation procedure. The Authority will be extremely vigilant regarding this reserve price, which must be submitted to Arcep for an opinion.”

Arcep also said that it is ready to conduct the frequency allocation procedure, so that the first commercially available 5G services can be launched in 2020.

The regulator’s head Sebastien Soriano told French newspaper Le Figaro that the 5G auction would likely take place in April 2020.

In an interview with Les Echos, a high-ranking official said that the government plans to sell each carrier 50MHz of 5G spectrum for 350 million euros ($385 million) and then auction a further 11 lots with a minimum price of 70 million euros each.

The country’s four operators Orange, SFR, Iliad and Bouygues are all expected to take part in the upcoming 5G auction.

Arcep’s specifications stipulate that each operator must launch 5G services in at least two cities before the end of 2020. Each carrier should deploy 3,000 sites by 2022, 8,000 sites in 2024 and 10,500 sites by 2025.

Eventually, all of the cell sites must be providing a 5G service using frequencies in the 3.4-3.8 GHz band or other bands, according to the regulator.

Arcep also highlighted that it is proposing that 25% of 3.4-3.8 GHz band sites in the last two stages must be located in sparsely populated areas, targeting economic activity, notably manufacturing, excluding major metropolitan areas.

By 2022, at least 75% of cell sites must be capable of providing speeds of at least 240 Mbps at each site.

Arcep’s conditions also stipulate the obligation for carrier to deploy 5G to provide coverage in roadways across France.

The regulator has also included commitments that seek to improve indoor coverage for business and commercial purposes, and to facilitate coverage by multiple operators.

Arcep also highlighted that the 5G frequencies will be awarded for a period of 15 years, which could be extended by five years under certain conditions. Arcep will carry out two interim reviews in 2023 and 2028 to verify that carriers are fulfilling all the conditions imposed by regulations, mainly in terms of network coverage and quality of service.

ABOUT AUTHOR

Juan Pedro Tomás
Juan Pedro Tomás
Juan Pedro covers Global Carriers and Global Enterprise IoT. Prior to RCR, Juan Pedro worked for Business News Americas, covering telecoms and IT news in the Latin American markets. He also worked for Telecompaper as their Regional Editor for Latin America and Asia/Pacific. Juan Pedro has also contributed to Latin Trade magazine as the publication's correspondent in Argentina and with political risk consultancy firm Exclusive Analysis, writing reports and providing political and economic information from certain Latin American markets. He has a degree in International Relations and a master in Journalism and is married with two kids.

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