Bids for 5G frequencies pushed back to March

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The procedure for allocating the deployment spectrum of the new generation of mobile telephony, which was expected at the beginning of 2020, is lagging behind. Bercy should, however, reveal the final outlines in the coming days.

By Zeliha Chaffin Posted today at 15h07, updated at 17h24

Time to Reading 2 min.

Before competing at auction, telecom operators will have to arm themselves with a little patience. While the procedure for allocating the 5G frequencies – essential for Orange, SFR, Free and Bouygues Telecom to launch their next-generation mobile networks on the territory – was originally expected in January 2020, the bids themselves should not finally take place before at least March, almost three months behind the original schedule, reveals, on Tuesday, November 19, Reuters, which assigns this postponement to differences views on the file between Bercy and the Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communications and Posts (Arcep), the telecom policeman.

"There is a procedure and deadlines to be met which are incompressible that bring us into these waters for an effective allocation. "recognizes Bercy, referring to the beginning of spring. Once the auction stage is over, it will take a few more weeks to administratively validate the process, before the telecom operators can really start deploying their 5G antennas on the territory.

Discussions that trample

For several weeks, discussions on the contours of the procedure trample on Bercy. Expected end of September, the specifications, which must set the auction rules, has still not been disclosed. The Ministry of the Economy and Finance, in charge of the 5G auction, must decide on the floor prices to which will be given the frequencies and the size of the spectrum blocks that will be offered for sale to the operators, as well as the obligations of deployment in the cities and the countryside that will be attached to them. Crucial points, both for the mobile operators, who are worried about the costs of auctions and deployments of 5G, as for the state, anxious to ensure rapid access to this new standard to the entire territory without however, to sell off its precious frequencies.

Operators have repeatedly called on the government to avoid deadly bids

The deliberations would, however, be about to close, according to Bercy, who explains to World that the process kicks off "In the next few days, from the end of November to the beginning of December" with the publication of the specifications and the announcement of the reserve price. The latter is more particularly expected by the operators, who have not stopped for several months to call on the government to avoid deadly bids, as was the case in Italy, where the bill for 5G frequencies had reached more than 6 billion euros.

A plea to which the government was not, a priori, not insensitive. Agnès Pannier-Runacher, Secretary of State for the Minister of the Economy and Finance, in charge of telecoms, has said several times since the spring his desire to find a "Just middle", which avoids a bleeding of the investment capacities of the operators. The range regularly advanced by industry observers ranged from 1 billion to 2 billion euros.

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