Arcep confirmed plans to kick off a 5G tender by mid-2019

French telecom regulator Arcep has kicked off a public consultation period on the 5G auction process for the 3.4-3.8 GHz, 26 GHz, and 1.4 GHz frequencies, the regulator said in a statement.

The watchdog called on various players to take part in the consultation, including carriers, local authorities, and companies in the energy, health, media, industry, agriculture, and automobile sectors.

Arcep said that the deadline to submit comments is December 19.

The regulator also confirmed that it aims to launch the tender to award 5G frequencies by mid-2019.

In July, the French government said it expects at least one major city to have commercial 5G services by 2020 as one of the key initiatives of the country’s 5G roadmap.

This follows through on the agreement reached between the government, Arcep and mobile operators on January 14, aimed at rapidly achieving a high standard of coverage across the whole of France, by stepping up the pace of 4G rollouts.

The roadmap sets a number of targets, including the launch of several 5G pilot projects in a variety of regions, and hosting some of the world’s pioneer industrial 5G applications; allocating new 5G frequencies and providing 5G coverage of the main transport routes by 2025.

In January this year, Arcep announced that it was planning to issue temporary frequency authorizations to develop 5G pilot projects in France. The regulator said it will offer spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band (3400 – 3800 MHz) in the metropolitan areas of Lyon, Bordeaux, Nantes, Lille, Le Havre, Saint-Étienne, Douai, Montpellier and Grenoble.

These initial 5G trials will allow Arcep to obtain initial feedback on the use of 5G networks. With the information obtained from future 5G trials, the regulator said it will pave the way for the allocation procedure for future 5G licenses.

Local carriers are currently carrying out a number of 5G trials to pave the way for the future launch of this technology.

Altice France (SFR Group) achieved downlink speeds of 2.3 Gbps in a live demonstration of 5G technology at the operator’s new headquarters in Paris. The 5G trial network enabled SFR to stream 4K content and broadcast eight live feeds from different cameras. SFR said the demo used radio infrastructure and equipment from Chinese vendor Huawei, along with core network components provided by Cisco.

Earlier this year, Orange announced plans to extend 5G tests to greater Paris area and Île-de-France. The telco named Paris, Châtillon and Linas-Montlhéry as the next zones to host Orange’s 5G tests.

In Paris, Orange expects to introduce a platform designed for 5G demonstrations in the Opéra district where its Orange Opéra megastore is located. This 5G test will take place next year, the telco said. Orange has also made plans to partners the chance to test innovative products and services in a 5G laboratory at its Orange Gardens site in Châtillon. These tests will focus in particular on 5G services for the general public, such as virtual reality and augmented reality, communications in an immersive environment and 4K/8K video.

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