French telecoms regulator Arcep has revealed that it has received applications for its forthcoming spectrum award procedures as follows:
· 900MHz band: Bouygues Telecom, Free Mobile, Orange and Altice France (SFR)
· 1800MHz band: Bouygues Telecom, Orange and Altice
· 2100MHz band: Bouygues Telecom, Free Mobile, Orange and Altice.
Arcep will now study the applications to ensure that they meet the criteria of admissibility, with a list of qualified candidates for each procedure scheduled to be released shortly. The new licences will come with obligations to ensure that all ‘white spaces’ (areas with no mobile services) are covered by high speed wireless networks. Each successful bidder will be required to construct 5,000 new 4G sites in areas identified by the Minister for Electronic Communications, while also equipping all 2G/3G sites to support 4G technology (covering an additional one million people in 10,000 communes).
The original authorisations in the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands awarded to Orange, Altice and Bouygues Telecom in 2006 and 2009 expire in 2021 and 2024, while their 2100MHz concessions are valid until 2021 and 2022.