French telecom authority Arcep has actually launched the first stage of the 5G award process for 3.5 GHz spectrum, in which the nation’s mobile network operators will each be able to obtain a block of 50 MHz. Operators have around 8 weeks to prepare their applications, prior to the target date set on 25 February 2020. Arcep expects to close this first stage of the procedure by mid-March as well as finish the second phase by the end of June 2020.
At the end of November 2019, the government stated that each block of 50 MHz would be sold at a fixed price of EUR 350 million. After the allocation of the first four blocks, making totally 200 MHz, operators will need to bid for the remaining 110 MHz of the C-band in 3.5 GHz available, in a public auction that will see each single block of 10 MHz sold for a starting price of EUR 70 million.
In their applications for the four 50 MHz blocks, candidates will have to make some coverage commitments , which will be an important part of their 5G licences. Amongst their coverage obligations, operators will certainly need to reach 3,000 5G sites in operation by 2022, rising to 8,000 in 2024 and also 10,500 in 2025 (less than the 12,000 suggested in Arcep’s preliminary consultation).
Licence holders will certainly likewise be needed to guarantee significant coverage outside metropolitan areas. Therefore, 25 percent of the sites deployed in the 2024-2025 period must benefit for dispersed with and sparsely communities, consisting of a list of priority roll-out locations defined by the regulatory authority ARCEP.