France tightens schedule of 5G auctions and deployment in Q4 2020

France tightens schedule of 5G auctions and deployment in Q4 2020
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France is all set to hold auctions, provide offers, and enable active 5G over its borders by the end of 2020. In fact, it is hosting an auction tomorrow, on September 29, to allocate frequencies to the county’s 4 main service providers – Orange, Free, Bouygues, and SFR.

France rose to a global beacon for 5G adoption when it recently completed erecting 500 active antennas for the next-gen connectivity. With the fervent backing of President Emmanuel Macron, the nation has significantly developed 5G tech. 

What is the auction for?

In February 2020, the four operators each acquired a 50MHz block on the 3.4 GHz – 3.8 GHz band, with each unit priced at €350m. This is the main portion that will be used by 5G

Following this, the September 29 auction will put up eleven blocks of 10 MHz band for sale, priced at €70m per unit. The auction is expected to bring approximately €2b to the French treasury. It will enable 5G operators to provide faster connectivity to French citizens.

The auctions will continue until operators stop raising bids for the most number of 5G bands. The French government has created an upper cap of 100 MHz, including the initial 50 MHz, for all service providers. 

A positioning auction in October will follow suit. This would decide the position of operators on the 5G band – whether they will be located at the periphery, or at the center.

Despite the development, the debate about the impact of 5G on the environment and on personal health persists. However, 5G rollout is expected to occur smoothly. 

Offers and deployment

It is noteworthy that the French telecom regulator, ARCEP, would provide licenses to operators, along with guidelines and frameworks of operation by the end of November. Telecom companies would start their marketing procedures immediately after receiving licenses. This would ensure that France would receive the first 5G offers by the end of the year.

Also, ARCEP has loosened the ties around telecom operators – they are not obliged to deploy 5G in two cities by the end of 2020. The regulatory body also has a clear roadmap for each operator for the next five years of 5G in France – 3000 operational sites by 2022, 8000 by 2024, and 10,500 by 2025. Conclusively, France will have more than 40,000 operational branches on more than 80,000 sites in the next five years. 

While the world has not harnessed the fastest 5G band, 26GHz, nations like France are spearheading the adoption of 5G tech. Estimates suggest that it will take France ten years to blanket their nation entirely with 5G. 

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