Arcep has adopted its decision on the terms and conditions for the allocation of 5G-suitable frequency authorisations in the 3.4GHz-3.8GHz band in metropolitan France and forwarded it to the government. The authority stated that the adopted terms and conditions had been adjusted to take into account feedback from its public consultation (July-September 2019), with Arcep now planning to award blocks of 50MHz each (60MHz previously) on the recommendation of the government. The frequencies will be allocated for a period of 15 years and the duration could be extended by five years.
The authority said in a press release: ‘It is now up to the government to set the financial conditions for this call for applications, in particular the reserve price(s), and to launch the frequency allocation procedure. Arcep will be extremely vigilant of the level chosen for this reserve price, which will have to be submitted to it for opinion. In this respect, it is necessary to distinguish between the reserve price and estimated valuation of the band. Arcep stands ready to conduct the frequency assignment procedure, so that the first 5G commercial services can open during the year 2020.’
The specifications include a set of obligations for all winners of 5G spectrum, which include the launch of 5G services in at least two cities by the operator before the end of 2020, and obligations to support the deployment of 5G equipment in the 3.4GHz-3.8GHz band as follows: 3,000 sites by 2022, 8,000 (2024) and 10,500 (2025). Arcep also provides for a mechanism to ensures that non-urban areas will also benefit from these deployments. Thus, 25% of the 3.4GHz-3.8GHz band sites in 2024 and 2025 will have to be deployed in areas outside the main agglomerations. By 2022, at least 75% of the sites must have a bit rate of at least 240Mbps, which will be gradually extended to all sites by 2030. Operators will also be required to activate network slicing by 2023 at the latest.