France’s telecoms regulator Arcep confirmed the country’s four domestic operators intend to participate in its upcoming 4G auction.
Bouygues Telecom, Free, Orange and SFR successfully submitted applications for inclusion in the process by yesterday’s deadline, with regulators now set to look into their proposals.
The auction, first announced in June, will see the auction of 4G friendly 700MHz spectrum, which is being freed up by television broadcasters.
In a statement, Arcep said it will publish a list of candidates eligible to participate “one month from now”, before holding the auction in November, with licences set to be distributed by the end of the year.
Six blocks of 2x5MHz are on offer, and a single operator will be unable to acquire more than 3 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 July.
The minimum bid for a block is set at €416 million each, with the country intending to raise at least €2.5 billion from the sale.
Arcep will hope the process runs slightly more smoothly than some of the other recent 4G auctions in Europe this year.
Germany, which also auctioned off 700MHz for the first time, experienced more than two weeks of aggressive bidding from the country’s operators’, eventually raising €5.08 billion.
Meanwhile, Poland’s 4G auction, which has been ongoing since February, has been hit with controversy after the government approved plans to set a deadline for the end of the auction. The proposal has been met by staunch opposition from operators for going against predetermined rules.
Orange CEO Stephane Richard stated earlier this month that France’s upcoming auction could lead to consolidation in the country next year.