French communications regulator Arcep launched a public consultation to help identify which frequencies are best suited to support 5G and a range of other next generation communication technologies.

The two-month consultation – “New frequencies for territories, companies, 5G and innovation” – will run alongside the regulator’s year-long investigation into the use of a range of bands, including the 2.6GHz and 3.5GHz frequencies widely eyed for 5G.

Arcep’s experiments and the public consultation will be complete during March 2017. Following analysis of its results, Arcep will allocate bands for further LTE development, 5G, IoT, rural broadband and upgraded professional wireless networks (PMR) across the country.

In addition to its own study, the regulator asked companies interested in using the frequencies to submit the results of their own experiments into the use of 2.6GHz and 3.5GHz bands for consideration.

Arcep initially earmarked 40MHz of the 2.6GHz band to support high grade fixed and improved PMR networks, which are used by professional organisations including the transport sector and emergency services. The regulator currently believes 40MHz of the 3.5GHz band should be reserved to enable high-speed fixed broadband in rural regions, with the rest of the 3.5GHz band earmarked for 5G when it is ready for launch.

The regulator said it expected to allocate the frequency bands during the second half of the year.