France migrates to HD DTT to vacate 700MHz band for broadband services

6 Apr 2016

France has successfully completed its migration process to all-HD (MPEG-4) digital terrestrial signal (DTT) transmission on 5 April, the Local reports. The move will progressively vacate 2×30MHz of 700MHz spectrum – the so-called ‘second digital dividend’ – for ultra-high speed broadband services between April 2016 and June 2019. The National Agency of Frequencies (ANFR) revealed that as of 1 April 2016 Bouygues Telecom has already installed its first three 700MHz antennas in Paris, while Free Mobile built three base transceiver stations (BTS) in Tarbes. From 6 April 2016, cellcos will be authorised to provide services in the 700MHz band in a total of 2,374 communes.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, all four of the country’s mobile network operators (Orange, Bouygues, Numericable-SFR and Free Mobile) secured 700MHz spectrum in the auction held by the Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communications and Posts (Autorite de Regulation des Communications Electroniques et des Postes, Arcep) in late October 2015. The regulator revealed that the price of the six 5MHz blocks on offer reached EUR466 million (USD528.8 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.