French regulator Arcep announced it will grant temporary licences to test 5G in the 3.4GHz to 3.8GHz and 26GHz bands in a bid to assess the potential of new network technology and identify challenges to widescale deployment.
The frequencies, which Arcep identified as prime candidates for 5G, will be available to operators and vertical industries, with the results used to help form the country’s 5G strategy. Arcep said one of its main objectives was to assess how the technology can be built to satisfy the needs of a range of industrial and IoT use cases, rather than just identifying the technical challenges of rollout.
Licences for the 3.4GHz to 3.8GHz bands will be available in selected metropolitan areas including Lyon, Bordeaux, Nantes, Lille, Le Havre, Saint-Etienne, Douai, Montpellier and Grenoble. Other bands or locations are available on request.
“5G is often touted as the generation that will be able to satisfy the connectivity needs of a wide variety of uses, from the public internet to critical industrial internet communications, by way of the ambient communications of a ubiquitous Internet of Things,” Arcep said in a statement.
“Conducting 5G pilots should help deepen a general understanding of the systems for cohabitation between players, and test out business models.”
“5G will probably constitute an amalgamation of different innovations (active antenna, use of very high frequencies, multiplication of small cells…) that could significantly alter the way a mobile network is deployed. Arcep wants to work in tandem with the sector to get a jump on the potential effects of these innovations.”
In addition to the trials, Arcep is preparing its plan for the allocation of 5G licences and a government consultation is also underway.
The move comes shortly after a deal with operators to secure €3 billion in investments to expand 4G across France, as the regulator steps-up its bid to improve connectivity in the country.