France might delay 5G spectrum auction until March 2020 or later

News

A Reuters' reports suggests the rescheduling is due to a disagreement between the French finance ministry and the telecoms authority, Arcep.

As it is, France is late to the 5G party – services have been launched in nine European countries, including Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain and the UK.

According to the Reuters report, there are disagreements over the amount of spectrum to be auctioned and the ‘floor’ price.

Both regulator and ministry refrained from comment, although apparently they are in negotiations.

The talks have postponed the legal process needed for granting the right to use 5G radio waves.

Alarm at possible high prices

Germany and Italy raised about €6.5 billion each through 5G spectrum auctions, which sent shockwaves round the industry.

France’s last spectrum auction in 2015 raised €2.8 billion. Under the current plan, the 5G frequencies that the four French operators – Orange, Altice SFR, Bouygues Telecom and Iliad – will bid for is within the 3.4-3.8GHz bandwidth.

A first round of spectrum blocs will be granted at a fixed price and a second will be auctioned. The floor price will be “close to €1.5 billion,” a source said.

The French government and other institutions, as well as Orange, have been explicit about the importance of 5G to French industries and the national economy.

It would seem that making industry the top priority for 5G, as opposed to consumers, it will not fit President Macron’s of France as a “start-up nation.”

As it is, France is late to the 5G party – services have been launched in nine European countries, including Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain and the UK.