French telecoms regulator Arcep moved to get a 5G spectrum auction delayed by Covid-19 (coronavirus) back on track, setting out a schedule to begin the process in September.

In a statement, the regulator said it plans to run a sale of spectrum in the 3.4GHz to 3.8GHz bands between 20 September and the end of the month. This will be followed by a positioning auction in October to determine bidder positions in the bands, with licences due to be issued later that month or November.

The auction was originally scheduled for April, but Arcep postponed the process due to Covid-19 containment measures.

Due to the delay Arcep, lifted obligations for operators to launch 5G services in a minimum of two cities by the year-end.

In February, Bouygues Telecom, Free Mobile, Orange and SFR took up a fixed-price offer covering 50MHz of compatible spectrum priced at €350 million.

They are all due to participate in the rescheduled auction, with Arcep aiming to raise €2.2 billion from 11x10MHz blocks.