France’s communications authority Arcep finalised its proposed terms for allocating 5G spectrum to the country’s operators, with a fixed price sale of specific blocks attached to strict obligations and an auction expected in April.
The regulator’s proposal for allocation of licences in the 3.4GHz-3.8GHz band must be approved by the country’s government, which will set the reserve price for the auction, formally sign-off on the conditions and open the sale.
Confirming reports published earlier this week stating the auction process was likely to be delayed, the organisation’s president Sebastien Soriano told national newspaper Le Figaro the auction would likely take place in April.
The auction is part of a two-phase allocation process with operators also being offered one block of 50 MHz each at a fixed price, in exchange for making commitments.
To qualify for the fixed price sale, operators must pledge to meet a number of terms around indoor coverage, fixed access services, transparency in the deployment process, and MVNO access to 5G.
Buyers in either phase will also have to meet a number of coverage obligations, assuming Arcep’s recommendations are passed.
Operators will be required to launch 5G in at least two cities by the end of next year, with 10,500 mast sites providing the service by the end of 2025. By the end of 2022, 75 per cent of all sites must supply a minimum bit rate of at least 240 Mb/s.
It also plans to slap targets on coverage and rates for major roads and will require all operators to offer network slicing by 2023 for industrial and other IoT uses.
In its statement, Arcep confirmed it was ready to begin the procedure as soon as agreed by authorities, with 5G expected to launch in France in 2020. Frequencies will initially be allocated for 15 years.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back