France raises €2.79 billion in 700MHz spectrum auction

18 November 2015 |


France raised €2.79 billion in a 4G spectrum auction on Tuesday, according to the country’s telecoms regulator.

After 11 rounds of bidding, the price of the spectrum reached €466 million for each 5MHz block. Bouygues Telecom and SFR were awarded a block each while Free Mobile and Orange were awarded two blocks each.

“Each candidate's position on the frequency band still needs to be determined. There are four possible positions in the band. The winning candidates are invited to submit their preferences to ARCEP by November 19, along with the price they are willing to pay for their first choice,” said the regulator.

Operators will pay two-thirds of the amount if they obtain their second choice and one-third if they get their third choice. They will pay nothing if they obtain their last choice.

Under the rules of the auction, no bidder may win more than three blocks of 700MHz spectrum.

Proceeds of the auction will go towards general budget purposes, said the government. 

Orange said the auction represents a major milestone for its development in France a2nd is an essential industrial investment that will enable the group to reinforce its leading position in high-speed mobile broadband. 

"These low-range frequencies, that are notable for their excellent propagation properties, will play a crucial role in the implementation of the Group’s Essentials2020 strategic plan by enabling Orange to provide an outstanding customer experience at a time of exponential growth in network traffic," said the company. 

"The 700MHz frequencies will be used in particular to reinforce the capacity and speed of the group’s very high-speed mobile broadband network, particularly indoors and in rural areas, and to prepare for the introduction of 5G once this technology is available."