Arcep awards additional 1800MHz spectrum to Free Mobile

11 Sep 2015

French telecoms regulator the Autorite de Regulation des Communications Electroniques et des Postes (Arcep) has awarded domestic mobile operator Free Mobile (part of Iliad Group) with an additional 10MHz block in the 1800MHz band from 25 May 2016. At that date, Orange France will hold 2×20MHz in the aforementioned band (1710MHz-1730MHz/1805MHz-1825MHz); Numericable-SFR will have 2×20MHz (1730MHz-1750MHz/1825MHz-1845MHz); Free Mobile will have 2×15MHz (1750MHz-1765MHz/1845MHz-1860MHz); and Bouygues Telecom will hold 2×20MHz (1765MHz-1785MHz/1860MHz-1880MHz).

TeleGeography notes that in March 2013 the regulator published its guidelines for the refarming of 1800MHz spectrum for Long Term Evolution (LTE) services, by stating that these frequencies would become technology neutral from 25 May 2016; the guidelines aim to ensure balanced allocation of spectrum between the country’s three established mobile operators – Orange France, Bouygues and Numericable-SFR – and newest entrant Free Mobile. The watchdog also said that operators could request for the technology restriction to be lifted before then, with Bouygues Telecom applying for permission to use the 1800MHz band for LTE services in March 2013.