French telecoms regulator ARCEP (Autorité de Régulation des Communications Électroniques et des Postes) has announced a delay of the 5G auctions initially scheduled for mid-April. This is amid operational challenges driven by the COVID-19 lockdown measures taken by France.
GlobalData’s France Telecom Operators Country Intelligence Report reveals that in January 2020, ARCEP rolled out the first phase of the 5G award process for the 3.4GHz-3.8GHz spectrum band. During this phase, each of the telcos – Orange, Bouygues Telecom, SFR and Free Mobile – is able to acquire a block of 50MHz spectrum at a fixed price of €350 million (US$385 million) per block, payable over 15 years.
5G applications have been submitted to ARCEP
All four telcos submitted their applications in February to be assessed by ARCEP. The frequency blocks are being assessed in exchange of telcos committing to a number of requirements attached to the attribution. These include coverage and performance commitments, provision of fixed wireless services, opening 5G networks to MVNOs and improving commercial and business buildings’ indoor coverage.
The second stage of the 5G frequency award process will see additional spectrum blocks of 10MHz be auctioned with an initial cost of €70 million (US$77 million) payable over four years.
The first phase was planned to be completed by March 2020. The second phase was scheduled to start mid-April with the aim to be finalized by end of June 2020.
ARCEP delay announcement may cause problems for commercial services
This delay may have an impact on France’s 5G commercial services availability expected in 2020. GlobalData’s initial forecasts expect 5G to account for 27% of total mobile subscriptions in France by 2024.
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