The companies securing trial spectrum will be authorised to use 26 GHz frequencies for up to three years

The French government, together with the country’s Electronic Communications and Postal Regulatory Authority (Arcep), are issuing a call for the creation of 5G trial platforms in the 26 GHz band, which are open to third parties.

The government said that the main aim of the initiative is to enable all of the markets’ stakeholders to seize the opportunities being opened up by this frequency band, and to identify new use cases enabled by these frequencies.

This call is aimed at market players wanting to obtain 26 GHz frequencies to create open trial platforms using small-scale 5G networks and to open these platforms up to third parties;

Arcep highlighted that the 26 GHz band was identified by the Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSPG) as the pioneer 5G band in Europe. The French government and Arcep are also eager to foster testing of these frequencies in real-life situations as bands have never been used for mobile networks up to now.

By providing innovative tech and service companies with access to these trial platforms, the Government and Arcep aim to remove two impediments to innovation: cost and having the technical skills needed to install these networks, notably for those players that are the least familiar with telecommunications,” Arcep said in a statement. “This use case testing is geared to allowing the French ecosystem to mature by having advance access to this frequency band. It will also deliver initial feedback for identifying the various types of innovative uses.”

In exchange for making their infrastructures available to third parties, the companies securing trial spectrum will be authorised to use 26 GHz frequencies for a period of up to three years. Additionally, the 5G pilot platforms created under the scheme will be subject to a favourable regulatory framework, with reduced obligations for those carrying out tests.

The Government and Arcep will also be carrying out an inventory of future 5G use cases amongst innovative companies.

The application procedures for these trials will be open from 31 January to 31 March 2019, Arcep said.

In related news, the French secretary of state responsible for the telecom sector, Agnes Pannier-Runacher, told local newspaper Le Figaro that the forthcoming 5G spectrum award will be completed in early 2020. Arcep is expected to set out the terms of the auction in autumn.

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