French telecoms regulator Arcep has revealed that four companies have submitted applications for the allocation of frequencies in the 3.4GHz-3.8GHz band in mainland France, namely Bouygues Telecom, Free Mobile, Orange France and Altice France (previously SFR). All four candidates have requested the allocation of one of the four 50MHz blocks that will be awarded in exchange for optional commitments set forth in the procedure. According to Arcep’s 5G auction’s terms and conditions, the optional commitments include: the provision of 5G services that foster competitiveness in other sectors of the French economy; improved coverage inside buildings (including multi-operator coverage); fixed access offers over the mobile network; greater transparency regarding deployment forecasts and their breakdown; and improved MVNO hosting. Arcep will now examine the applications and draw up a list of qualified applicants for the 50MHz blocks. Bidders for the frequencies still available after the allocation of the 50MHz blocks will be subject to a selection procedure (by financial criteria) which will take place in April, so that the authorisations are issued in June 2020 at the latest.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in December 2019 the government set the price of the 50MHz blocks of 3.4GHz-3.8GHz spectrum at EUR350 million (USD386 million), while the additional blocks of 10MHz will cost EUR70 million.