18 Apr 2016
France’s Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communications and Posts (Autorite de Regulation des Communications Electroniques et des Postes, Arcep) has published additional details on the call for applications for the allocation of available 3G/4G spectrum in the French overseas territories (‘departement d’outre-mer’, DOM) of Guadeloupe, Guyana, Reunion, Martinique, Mayotte, Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthelemy. Arcep will auction spectrum in the 800MHz and 2600MHz bands (yet unallocated overseas), along with additional frequencies in the 900MHz, 1800MHz and 2100MHz bands. All interested parties are invited to submit their applications by 10 May 2016. The regulator will award up to four licences ‘per zone’, each with specific deployment obligations; Arcep said that the authorisations in Guyana will come with obligations to improve mobile coverage of the two national highways (NR1 and NR2).
The watchdog clarified that the call for applications is aimed at granting new authorisations in the 800MHz and 2600MHz bands, and operators wishing to apply for lifting the technology restrictions in the 900MHz, 1800MHz and 2600MHz bands need to apply separately.
Arcep added that frequencies previously awarded to Guadeloupe Telephone Mobile, Martinique Telephone Mobile and Guyane Telephone Mobile (in the 900MHz, 1800MHz and 2,100MHz bands) will be reallocated to new operators in the forthcoming auction. In regards to Guadeloupe and Martinique, the regulator disclosed that the available spectrum was as follows: 2×30MHz (800MHz), 2×40MHz (1800MHz), 2×39.3MHz (2100MHZ) and 2×70MHz (2600MHz).
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, back in July 2013 Arcep unveiled a ‘broad public consultation’ covering mobile frequency assignments in the 700MHz, 800MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz and 2600MHz spectrum bands, with a view to facilitating the introduction of LTE. The process was successfully concluded in February 2014, and a formal tender was expected to be introduced in 1H14, only for the regulator to miss its self-imposed target.