France invites mobile operators to 4G spectrum auction

The French government wants at least €2.5 billion for spectrum in the 800MHz and 2.6GHz band

Mobile operators that want to bid on spectrum in the 2.6GHz and 800MHz bands in order to operate 4G (fourth generation) mobile services can now send in their applications, French regulator Arcep said on Wednesday.

To ensure that France gets a good value for its assets, the chunks of spectrum operators can buy come with a reserve price which totals €2.5 billion (US$3.6 billion), according to a spokesman at Arcep.

The spectrum is neutral, meaning that operators can use any technology they want, as long as they follow the rules set by the regulator, but LTE (Long Term Evolution) is expected to be the technology of choice.

The roll-out of LTE in some of the larger European countries will help drive down the cost of LTE devices thanks to better economies of scale for manufacturers, according to Sylvain Fabre, research director at Gartner.

The 800MHz spectrum has so far been seen as more valuable by operators. German operators paid more for the lower band when the country had its auction over a year ago.

One of the goals is to provide the entire French population with high-speed mobile Internet access. Each operator awarded spectrum in the 800MHz band will have to cover 99.6 percent of the population of mainland France in 15 years, according to Arcep.

Low-frequency radio signals tend to carry further than high-frequency signals. Networks using the 800MHz band will require fewer base stations to provide wide mobile coverage than 2.6GHz networks, meaning they can provide mobile broadband service in sparsely populated rural areas at lower cost, according to industry organization the GSM Association.

The French government and Arcep has tried to find a balance between rural coverage, competition and money when setting up the ground rules for the auction.

In each frequency band, the spectrum will be awarded in paired channels of the same size, one for downloads and one for uploads. Operators won't be able to buy more than 15MHz of spectrum for each direction in the 800MHz band, or 30MHz in the 2.6GHz band.

Also, should there be four eligible candidates for the 2.6GHz-band, each carrier is guaranteed to receive two 15MHz channels if it has applied for this quantity of spectrum, according to Arcep. That would result in more competition, but also slower download speeds, because the current generation of LTE needs two 20MHz channels to perform at its best.

However, the option to buytwo times 15MHz in the 800MHz band could result in higher speeds than operators will able to offer in other European countries.

The deadlines for applications are Sept. 15 for the 2.6GHz band, and Dec. 15 for the 800MHz band. Following an auction, Arcep will be allocating 2.6GHz band spectrum in late 2011 and 800MHz spectrum in early 2012, it said.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mobilebroadbandtelecommunicationCarriersARCEP

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?