France to get first 5G city by 2020, regulator vows


France will have its first 5G city by 2020 and its major transport routes covered by 2025, as the contry's regulator Arcep outlined its plans to foster next generation technology.

The regulator revealed its roadmap for 5G yesterday (16 July), describing it as "strategically vital to France’s industry, the competitiveness of our economy, innovation and revitalised public services".

Among its immediate plans are the distribution of the correct frequencies for 5G use, with work already underway.

Last month, Arcep announced it was exploring the possibility of using 26GHz for nationwide 5G coverage.

It has also opened up spectrum bands to encourage 5G pilots.

Other focuses in Arcep's roadmap is to help drive the development of new use cases, support infrastructure deployment and ensure the public is kept up to speed with the French government's 5G strategy.

Arcep revealed that 11 new trials have been launched in the Ile-de-France region involving Bouygues Telecom, Nokia, Orange and SFR.

Three of the trials will explore connected car applications while the other will test autonomous vehicles. Arcep did not give any details about the remaining eight.

Bouygues Telecom and Orange are among the operators already holding 5G trials across France.

In addition to researching connected cars, Orange has previously said it is building an end to end 5G network in partnership with Ericsson and exploring fixed wireless access in Romania.

Arcep is holding a consultation later this year about which bands should be allocated permanently for 5G use. It will start the auction process in earnest with a call for applications in the middle of next year.