Paris, 19 June 2015 - Yesterday, on Thursday, 18 June, ARCEP submitted its draft decisions on the future assignment and allocation of the 700 MHz band to the members of the Electronic communications advisory committee, CCCE (commission consultative des communications électroniques) for their opinion.
The procedure includes coverage obligations that are as strong as those attached to the 800 MHz band. There are particularly strong demands for deployment of the 700 MHz band in rural areas, in addition to 800 MHz band frequencies, to be able to improve the quality of 4G services in these areas over time and to prepare for the potential development of 5G services on these bands.
The procedure is also meant to stimulate investment, by enabling every player to achieve a fair share of the mobile market. The band was therefore divided into six blocks of 2×5 MHz, so that spectrum can be allocated to a large number of candidates. These blocks can be combined to allow the candidates to provide their customers with the highest connection speeds possible. However, to encourage heavy use of this frequency band and to limit imbalances between operators, a single candidate cannot acquire more than three blocks (i.e. 2×15 MHz) in the 700 MHz band, and will not be able to exceed a limit of 2×30 MHz of low frequency spectrum, i.e. in the 700 MHz, 800 MHz and 900 MHz bands combined. Lastly, the type of auction being planned allows the candidates to fully manage the outcome: they can choose to continue or to stop their bidding at any point in time, knowing how much spectrum they will be allocated.
Once the call for applications has been launched, candidates will have until the end of Q3 2015 to file their applications. ARCEP plans to conduct the auction in the fourth quarter of the year, and to award the licences to the winning candidates before the end of 2015. Further details, including a description of the French 700 MHz band allocation process, are available on ARCEP's website, here...