The four major mobile operators in France accepted an offer to acquire 50MHz of spectrum available in a 5G frequency sale for a fixed price, regulator Arcep revealed, adding it would now take the next steps towards completing the process by June.
With Orange, SFR, Free Mobile and Bouygues Telecom agreeing to take up the offer, Arcep said its next step would be to assess the paperwork they had submitted.
Arcep plans to assign the blocks after the completion of a 5G spectrum auction scheduled to begin in April. Allocation of the additional 50MHz blocks will be made at the same time as operators receive the frequencies won in the broader sale, with the regulator targeting completion of both processes by June at the latest.
To qualify for the 50MHz in the 3.4GHz to 3.8GHz bands at a fixed price of €350 million, operators were required to agree to a number of terms related to minimum coverage, product availability and fostering competition.
Among the commitments were improving indoor coverage for businesses, supplying dedicated fixed wireless access products, greater transparency around service availability and 5G provision for MVNOs.
Arcep said it would announce if the four companies had successfully made these commitments prior to the start of bidding for further blocks of 10MHz in the same bands.
Between the fixed sale and auction, France expects to raise at least €2.2 billion.