Recent reports suggest that the French spectrum auction – a key process in securing national signal coverage – will be delayed until March 2020, halting the country’s 5G roll out plans.
Speaking recently with Reuters, anonymous sources close to the auction said that there were ongoing disagreements between the French finance ministry and the country’s communications regulator, Arcep. The teams can’t agree on either the size of the spectrum to be auctioned or the starting price, which both seem like pretty key things to know before going into financial battle.
This setback is likely to delay the event for three months, pushing the date back from its original January deadline.
The delay spells sad times for France, which has been gearing up for the 5G switch on for a while. Back in 2019, Orange partnered with French companies to test and develop 5G uses. It looks like it will be a while longer before the companies can flex their 5G muscles in the real world.
At present, Orange has declined to comment, stating that as ‘there has been no official announcement from ARCEP in France about this, we won’t comment on rumours or speculation.’
France is lagging behind its European counterparts when it comes to 5G. Several other large nations have already implemented 5G services – it’s available in Spain, Britain, Ireland, Germany and Italy.
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When the latter two countries held their own 5G spectrum auctions, they managed to raise about 6.5 billion euros each. France’s upcoming auction sale (according to those secretive unnamed sources) is apparently more in the region of 1.5 billion euros. Still nothing to sniff at.
Despite being a step ahead of France in the 5G race, UK mobile users are still waiting for 5G roll out fully. Although it’s available through at least one mobile network in 17 cities across the country, it would be a stretch to say that the we have complete coverage at present.