French telecoms regulator Arcep has issued four authorisations for spectrum in the 3.5GHz (3400MHz-3800MHz) band, after inviting applications from interested parties in January 2018. Under Decision No. 2018-0177, Orange will be allowed to use the spectrum for 5G trials for twelve months starting June 2018, in the French cities of Lille (with Orange authorised to trial the technology over 30 sites in the city) and Douai (48). Arcep has also issued a temporary licence (Decision No. 2018-178) to Bouygues Telecom, for 5G pilots in the cities of Bordeaux, Lyon and Villeurbanne. The authorisation (valid until 30 September 2020) grants Bouygues rights to stage 5G pilots using the 3645MHz-3745MHz block in the three locations in the period May-September 2018.
Elsewhere, Arcep has awarded additional spectrum in the 3.5GHz band in the French overseas territory of Saint-Martin to help operators restore fixed-wireless broadband services disrupted by hurricane Irma. With Decision No. 2018-0253 Arcep authorised Dauphin Telecom to utilise the 3510MHz-3550MHz block in Saint-Martin until 30 June 2020, while Orange Caraibe was granted rights to the 3410MHz-3450MHz block (also valid until June 2020).