5G auction postponed

5G auction postponed

© Sebastien SORIANO / Le Figaro
Sebastien Soriano, President of Arcep

The second round of municipal elections is not the only one to be postponed, that of the allocation of 5G frequencies too. The Telecoms Authority (Arcep) hasn’t officially announced it yet, but it confirms the information. The subject had been raised in the morning by the director general of Free, Thomas Reynaud, at the time of the publication of the results of his group. The date of April 21 for the start of the auction was to be confirmed on Tuesday, March 17, “because there is a notice period,” said Arcep. The College of Authority has been unable to meet and is scheduled to do so on Thursday. “De facto this means that there are at least days of postponement,” adds Arcep, who wants to minimize the impact of this delay. But there is nothing to say that the decision will be made on Thursday. Nor even that the College will not decide to postpone the auction.

The first frequencies allocatedWith this postponement, the whole launch of 5G will be delayed. But could it be otherwise? Impossible to imagine the holding of auctions, involving bringing together a few dozen people – representatives of the four operators and Arcep – in one place. Likewise, organizing online auctions seems complicated, if not unrealistic in the midst of an epidemic. Operators have many other cats to whip, they are already fully mobilized to ensure continuity of services, allow their customers to call and connect to the Internet. It’s also hard to imagine that operators could quickly start deploying 5G, even if the confinement of the population were to end quickly. There will be other emergencies to deal with.

However, the 5G licensing process has already gone through its first round. The operators have already submitted their files which will enable them to obtain 50 MHz each in the 3.4 to 3.7 GHz band, for 350 million euros per operator. The rest, the auctions, were to enable them to obtain a wider frequency band to optimize the service with a maximum of 100 MHz per operator. The process is therefore suspended … Without a new date and neither the final terms for the second round have been set.


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