France’s Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communications and Posts (Autorite de Regulation des Communications Electroniques et des Postes, Arcep) has disclosed that the main auction for spectrum in the 700MHz band has ended after eleven rounds of bidding, with the tender generating EUR2.796 billion (USD2.98 billion) for the state. The regulator revealed that the price of the six 5MHz blocks on offer reached EUR466 million apiece, with Orange France and Free Mobile securing two blocks each in the aforementioned band, while Bouygues Telecom and Numericable-SFR walked away with one each. Arcep has now invited all bidders to state their preferred position in the 703MHz-733MHz/758MHz-788MHz bands and the amount they are willing to pay in order to secure their first choice by 19 November.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, the government is planning to free up 2×30MHz blocks of spectrum in the 700MHz band between April 2016 and June 2019, thanks to improvements in digital terrestrial TV (DTT) compression standards, the so-called ‘second digital dividend’. All four of the country’s mobile network operators qualified to participate in the auction in late October 2015.