Superfast mobile broadband

Frequencies

Arcep extends the life of the superfast wireless window, and finalises the 3.4 3.8 GHz band’s rearrangement to release frequencies for 5G


To satisfy the regions’ connectivity needs, Arcep made a portion of the 3.5 GHz band available to the stakeholders involved regional digital development, to deploy superfast wireless networks. This single window, which was opened in 2017, was initially scheduled to close at the end of 2019. At the same time, in preparing for the allocation of 5G frequencies in autumn 2019, Arcep continued to work on releasing this band for mobile network rollouts.

The superfast wireless window will remain open until 15 September 2020 for those regions that have shared details of their rollout projects, and everywhere that frequency availability allows

From 24 May to 30 June 2019, Arcep performed an inventory of superfast wireless network rollout projects, which was aimed at the regions in particular. This consultation was part of the work being done to release the 3490 ‑ 3800 MHz frequency band which is due to be assigned to 5G. Arcep receive 16 contributions, reporting on projects in 20 departments in France.

Arcep decided to keep the window open in those regions that shared the details of their short-term superfast rollout projects, and where superfast wireline networks will not become available in the short or medium term. Initially planned to close on 31 December 2019, the life of this window is being extended: project owners now have until 15 September 2020 to submit a request for frequencies.

The work of rearranging the band has in some instances been done on a case by case basis. In the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region’s departments in particular – whose superfast wireless rollout projects were reported to Arcep (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Hautes-Alpes, Alpes-Maritimes, Bouches-du-Rhône and the Var) – 20 MHz of spectrum could be obtained from the superfast wireless window if the allocation terms and conditions are met. Regions which so desire could ask the company SHD for a supplement of up to 30 MHz in the 3430 – 3460 MHz band: SHD took commitments on the leasing of its frequencies for the regional digital development to the holders of superfast wireless frequencies.

Arcep will also keep the superfast wireless window open for the remaining available 3410 ‑ 3460 MHz band frequencies for those regions that did not make their rollout plans known during the consultation in June. The Authority remains at the regions’ disposal to examine possible options for accessing this band for superfast wireless rollout projects.

Allocation procedures amended as a result

The document being published today therefore sets out the new procedures for allocating the 3410 ‑ 3460 MHz band for superfast wireless rollouts, for each department in Metropolitan France. The possibilities available in each department can be viewed on the Arcep website page dedicated to superfast wireless (www.arcep.fr/thdradio), which has been updated to reflect these new procedures.

Stakeholders can continue to request access to the unused frequencies to perform 5G trials.

Releasing 310 MHz for 5G

To make a contiguous block of 310 MHz available for 5G from the time of launch, Arcep is grouping together all of the frequency licences to the 3410 ‑ 3490 MHz band that have been awarded since 2006. This process will make it possible to use the entire 3490 ‑ 3800 MHz band for 5G by mid-2020 in most departments, and by the end of 2020 in the whole of Metropolitan France, while maintaining public initiative local wireless loop networks.