French Telecom Regulator awards 800 MHz licenses

in Blog, ARCEP, LTE

French Telecom Regulator ARCEP will award licenses to use the 800 MHz frequency band to SFR, Bouygues Telecom and France Telecom. In early January, ARCEP will issue the winning applicants with licenses to use spectrum in the 800 MHz frequency band. Bouygues Telecom, SFR and Orange France received frequencies (10 MHz duplex) in Block A, Blocks B + C and Block D respectively..

These frequencies are to be used in the deployment of 4G LTE mobile networks which will provide ultra high-speed access to the mobile internet. They will allow operators to offer maximum data rate of at least 60 Mbps. 

The allocation of 800 MHz-band spectrum brings in a total €2,639 million (compared to the reserve price of €1.8 billion). €936 million is already obtained from the allocation of the 2.6 GHz band, which means a total income from sale of these frequencies is close to €3.6 billion, compared to the reserve price of €2.5 billion.

ARCEP had received applications for licenses in the 800 MHz band from four operators earlier this month. ARCEP performed its selection based on the three criteria listed in the call for applications: a regional development commitment, a commitment to host mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) and the financial amount bid for the frequencies. According to ARCEP , Free Fréquences, whose application was eligible and qualified, was not among the candidates selected for a license due to the offers submitted by the other applicants. However Free Mobile will have roaming rights in the 800 MHz band in priority rollout areas.

Regional development was the top priority set for the allocation of the 800 MHz band resulting from the digital dividend. The selected operators are subject to a very ambitious roadmap whose ultimate target is coverage of at least 99.6% of the population of mainland France. In addition, for the first time ever with mobile licenses, operators are also subject to specific regional coverage targets: first, they must have covered 95% of each department by the set deadline and, second, must commit to an accelerated rollout schedule in the most sparsely populated parts of the country.

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