French 5G spectrum to be sold at floor price of €2.17bn
An auction will reportedly be held in March 2020
The floor price for French 5G spectrum will be set at €2.17bn (£1.8bn, $2.4bn), junior economy minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher told French newspaper Les Echos. The amount is visibly higher than it was recommended before.
Pannier-Runacher said that the proposal seems “reasonable” for the ministry. However, the French government is the one to decide, she added.
Last week, after several months of intense debates, French telecoms regulator Arcep finally published its decision on the auction that concerns the use of frequencies in the 3.4-3.8GHz band in Metropolitan France.
The specifications clarify that French operators are obliged to launch 5G services in at least two cities by late 2020. In 2025, there should be 10,500 sites across the country.
Sebastien Soriano, president of Arcep, said that the minimum price for 5G spectrum should not surpass €1.5bn.
According to Reuters, the auction might be delayed until March 2020, as the French finance ministry and Arcep still have not come to a conclusion over the exact size of spectrum to be auctioned and the auction floor price.
As of other EU countries, both Germany and Italy raised €6.5bn this year from similar auctions, the price tag was considered too high in France.
Meanwhile, the UK has already started deploying 5G, with mobile network provider O2 being the last to join the network. 5G will initially be available in five UK cities including Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds and London.
FURTHER READING: 5G explained: How different is it from 4G, and when will it arrive?