The French government targeted a commercial 5G launch in at least one major city by 2020 as part of a range of measures designed to get the technology off the ground swiftly.
In a statement, regulator Arcep said a newly completed 5G Roadmap sets “ambitious targets” including allocating frequencies to enable commercial launches over the next two years; launching a series of fresh pilots of pioneering industrial applications; and covering all main transport routes with 5G by 2025.
The roadmap was unveiled by Arcep chair Sebastien Soriano alongside secretaries of state Delphine Geny-Stephann (Economic Affairs and Finance) and Mounir Mahjoubi (Digital Affairs). France regards 5G as “strategically vital” to its industry, economy and public services, the regulator stated.
Arcep announced 11 fresh government-backed test projects in the Ile-de-France region, including three connected vehicle use cases. It said the window to such pilot schemes is “open to everyone,” indicating operators, which are currently battling it out for leadership in the technology, are free to participate.
The regulator in January revealed it would grant temporary licences in 5G-compatible spectrum to kick-start operator trials. It added the roadmap was drawn up following a consultation process conducted in Q1.
Those discussions contributed to four key courses of action in the roadmap: to free up and allocate 5G frequencies; foster development of new uses; back deployment of compatible infrastructure; and keep the public informed of progress.
The regulator noted the 5G plan builds on an agreement struck by the government and operators in January to invest €3 billion in expanding LTE coverage, particularly in rural areas.
Working groups are already being formed to deliver on the 5G Roadmap’s goals, Arcep stated.