Arcep launches consultation on 2.6GHz and 3.5GHz spectrum

French telecoms regulator Autorité de Régulation des Communications électroniques et des Postes (Arcep) has announced a two month consultation looking at the future prospects of mobile bandwidth.

The two-month public consultation will query stakeholders on plans for several frequency bands, including the 2.6GHz and 3.5GHz bands, and on methods used to allocate them.

Both those bands and others that will potentially be discussed are being used to develop LTE technology, and could also feature in the development of 5G, set to launch in 2020.

Arcep is looking at how these frequencies could support the development of 5G and other future mobile technologies, such as the Internet of Things, and ultrafast internet access.

It follows the launch of a trial period in March, 2016, which the regulator and French telecoms companies used to study the possibilities of LTE networks using these bands.

In a release, Arcep said it “proposes to identify and allow for the allocation of 40 MHz in the 2.6 GHz band for PMR networks, and 40 MHz in the 3.5 GHz band for fixed wireless ultrafast networks in rural areas, starting in the second half of 2017. The remainder of the 3.5 GHz band will later be made accessible for 5G, once the technology is more mature. The public consultation will make it possible to confirm this scheme or, if necessary, to establish an alternative scheme.”

Stakeholders have been invited to contribute to the consultation, with a deadline of 6 March 2017 being imposed by the regulator.

It comes as Arcep chairman Sebastien Soriano has challenged the industry to invest in 5G and other technologies or face even more challenges.

Speaking to Global Telecoms Business, Soriano said: “When I speak about investment, it is not just the amount of money that is spent. What we want is connectivity – poles, coverage. We are using all of our toolbox to make this shift from just price competition to a mix of price and quality.”

For the full interview, see issue 149 of Global Telecoms Business.