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A two-part assignment procedure of the French 3.5 GHz frequencies

ARCEP revealed its plan for assigning spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band.

The French ARCEP revealed its plan for assigning spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band (310 MHz in 3.4-3.8 GHz) in Metropolitan France. It published a draft procedure in a public consultation on July 15th, 2019.

ARCEP is proposing a mixed allocation procedure that is not solely based on financial bids. In the first part of the procedure, operators will be able to secure blocks of spectrum in exchange for dedicated commitments including providing connectivity to verticals, improving indoor coverage, delivering fixed access products, improving transparency (on rollout forecasts and service outages), increasing access to MVNOs.

The second part will be the conventional multi-round auction where mobile players are able to acquire additional spectrum. They will bid for the spectrum left available after the first phase. 15+5-year licences will be awarded (including a 5-year possible extension). Interim reviews are scheduled in 2023 and 2028.

All successful applicants (from the first and second phases) will be subject to coverage obligations including the coverage of at least two French cities by YE 2020. MNOs will also have to install up to 3,000 5G sites by 2022, 8,000 by 2024 and 12,000 by 2025. Each 5G site has to deliver speeds of 240 Mbps. Obligations also include coverage of motorways by 2025 and highways by 2027. 5G sites on main transport corridors have to deliver 100 Mbps minimum.

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