France’s 4G-friendly 700MHz spectrum auction will take place on 16 November, according to the country’s telecoms regulator Arcep.

The regulator, which first announced the auction in June, stuck to its timelines after previously earmarking November to hold the process, with the view of distributing licences to winning parties by the end of the year.

All four of the country’s domestic operators, including Bouygues Telecom, Free, Orange, and SFR, submitted applications for inclusion in the process last month, with the regulator set to look at the proposals by the end of October.

700MHz spectrum is being freed up in France by the country’s television broadcasters, and Arcep intends to raise at least €2.5 billion from the sale.

According to Les Echos, the process will take a few days to complete, and involve eight rounds of bidding a day.

Six blocks of 2x25MHz are on offer, and a single operator will be unable to acquire more than three in total.

Operators will also be unable to hold more than 2x30MHz of low frequency spectrum in total, across the 700MHz, 800MHz and 900MHz bands combined, according to guidelines set by the regulator in June, with the minimum bid for each block set at €416 million each.

Orange’s European chief told Mobile World Live earlier this month the upcoming 700MHz is a necessary step before consolidation can happen in the market, with France still operating with four established players.