French Minister proposes €2.2bn floor price for 5G spectrum

Agnès Pannier-Runacher.jpg

France’s Agnès Pannier-Runacher (pictured), secretary of state to the Minister of Economy and Finance, has said that the floor price for 5G spectrum should start at €2.17 billion.

In an interview with French publication, Les Echos, Pannier-Runacher proposes that each of the countries’ four operators buy a first block of 50MHz for 350 million, adding that the price is ‘reasonable’ given that operators in Germany had to pay twice as much for the same amount. After this, the remaining 110MHz will be auctioned in10 MHz bands, starting at a price of $70 million each.

By close of the two-part tender process, the maximum spectrum holding that an operator can have is 100MHz.

The final decision is left with France’s economy ministry, “It’s up to the government to assume its responsibilities and decide,” said Pannier-Runacher.

The news comes days after French telecoms regulator Arcep published its conditions and procedures for its 5G spectrum auction in the 3.4-3.8GHz band.

In the report, Arcep stated that each operator must launch 5G services ‘in at least two cities before the end of 2020”, the body also said that it is planning to introduce a concomitance mechanism to ensure that non-urban areas will also benefit from these rollouts’.

Other features of the report include the stipulation that by 2022, at least 75% of cell sites must deliver speeds of at least 240Mbps at each site, this will be gradually applied to all cell sites in the lead up to 2030.

Additionally, operators also have obligations for ensuring coverage of the country’s motorways by 2025 then, by 2027, coverage of the main roadways. Also Arcep is asking operators to activate advanced 5G functions such as network slicing and tiered service by 2023.

Frequencies will be allocated for a period of 15 years, which will be extended by a further five years if operators agree to the conditions outlined in its report. Two interim reviews are scheduled for 2023 and before 2028 to verify operators’ implementation of their obligations.