The French state has approved the terms and conditions for the forthcoming auction of six blocks of 4G-suitable spectrum in the 700MHz frequency band, which is expected to raise EUR2.5 billion (USD2.78 billion) for government coffers, Les Echos reports. French regulator the Autorite de Regulation des Communications Electroniques et des Postes (Arcep) has set a base price of EUR416 million per 2×5MHz block and no buyer is allowed to purchase more than three blocks (2×15MHz). Further, bidders will not be allowed to exceed a cap of 2×30MHz of combined spectrum in the 700MHz, 800MHz and 900MHz bands. Arcep hopes to send out calls for application later this month; the authority is aiming to hold the 4G auction in Q4 2015, with the licences to be allocated by the end of the year.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, Arcep submitted its draft decisions on the assignment and allocation of 700MHz frequencies to the Electronic Communications Advisory Committee (CCCE, Commission Consultative des Communications Electroniques) in June 2015. 2×30MHz of 700MHz spectrum will be freed up between April 2016 and June 2019 thanks to improvements in digital terrestrial TV (DTT) compression standards, the so-called ‘second digital dividend’.