France launches 4G spectrum auction

France launches 4G spectrum auction

The French government has begun the sale of 4G mobile spectrum with plans to raise as much as €2.5 billion.

The government aims to sell six blocks of 2 x 5MHz spectrum in the 700MHz band with a reserve price of at least €416 million for each block. 

The country’s four operators – Free Mobile, Orange, SFR and Bouygues Telecom – will be limited to bids of up to three blocks of 700MHz spectrum. In addition operators will not be allowed to own more than 2 x 30MHz of spectrum below 1GHz across the 700MHz, 800MHz and 900MHz bands. 

As part of the obligations of the licence, they will be required to provide high-speed mobile broadband in rural areas, as well as along 29,000km of railway lines. 

The licences are expected to be awarded by the end of 2015.