France’s Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communications and Posts (Autorite de Regulation des Communications Electroniques et des Postes, ARCEP) has revealed that all four domestic mobile operators – Bouygues Telecom, Free Mobile, Orange France and Numericable-SFR – have submitted applications for the allocation of spectrum in the 703MHz-733MHz/758MHz-788MHz bands. ARCEP said that it will now examine the bids ‘to ensure that they satisfy the procedure’s admissibility and qualification criteria’ and will publish the list of the eligible auction candidates in October. The authority is aiming to hold the 4G auction in November 2015, with the licences to be allocated by the end of the year.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s 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’. Arcep set a base price of EUR416 million (USD454.7 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.