Networks

5G

The Government and Arcep introduce two new measures designed to facilitate manufacturers and other verticals’ access to 5G


Agnès Pannier-Runacher, Minister Delegate for Industry, and Cédric O, Secretary of State for the Digital Transition and Electronic Communications, along with Arcep Chair, Laure de La Raudière, are announcing the introduction of two new measures designed to facilitate manufacturers and other “verticals’” (local authorities, universities, R&D labs, etc.) access to 5G.

These measures are a follow-up to the conclusions and recommendations of the Industrial 5G task force that the Government entrusted to Philippe Herbert.

Measure 1 : Open a trial platform in the 3.8 – 4.0 GHz band: a new option to enable manufacturers and other “vertical” users to appropriate 5G and its use cases

This platform, which will be open until 31 December 2022, is aimed at entities wanting to test new 5G use cases: manufacturers, logisticians, energy, health or smart city sector players. This new platform comes to complete the frequency ranges already available to these entities (2.6 GHz TDD and 26 GHz bands).

These trials – which can last up to three years, using the 100 MHz of spectrum made available to each entity – will enable industry stakeholders to appropriate 5G technologies and benefit from feedback and findings, and for public sector players to build a regulatory framework that takes these needs into consideration.

As the Industrial 5G task force made clear, the 3.8 - 4.0 GHz band’s proximity to the core 5G band (3.4 – 3.8 GHz) gives industry stakeholders immediate access to a mature and diverse ecosystem of devices and equipment, as well as a large quantity of spectrum.

The practical rules for accessing these frequencies are already available, via this link.

Measure 2: Creation of a portal to simplify access to the 2.6 GHz TDD band for professional mobile radio networks

As part of an ongoing bid to simplify frequency access mechanisms, Arcep is opening a digital portal for handling professional mobile radio network (PMR) authorisations to use the 2.6 GHz TDD band. Launched today, this portal replaces the previous application form and gives PMR stakeholders the ability to view available spectrum resources on a map, as well as those that have already been assigned, to submit a request for frequencies, and to follow Arcep departments’ examination of their application.

These two new measures come to supplement earlier initiatives from the Government and Arcep to facilitate manufacturers and other vertical users’ access to 5G

Back in 2019, the Government and Arcep created the first trial platform aimed specifically at vertical industry players, which enabled the development of the first private 4G/5G networks in the 2.6 GHz TDD band. This mechanism was completed that same year by a call for the creation of trial platforms in the 26 GHz band, which resulted in the opening of 15 such platforms.

In September 2020, the Government issued a call for “Telecommunications network sovereignty” projects, as part of the “France Relance” national recovery plan, to accelerate the adoption of 5G applications – which provided support to twenty-one 5G use case trial platforms. The call for project proposals was part of the set of measures that make up the Acceleration strategy for 5G and future telecommunications network technologies, designed to support the development of 5G use cases that will benefit territories and industry. Arcep participates in the inter-ministerial task force that guides Acceleration strategy actions.

In 2020, the Government and Arcep also set out two obligations for operators in the terms of the licences to use frequencies in the 3.4 – 3.8 GHz band:

- “An unprecedented mechanism requiring operators to commit to granting reasonable requests from economic actors (enterprises, local authorities, administrations…) by providing them with tailored solutions with set coverage and performance levels or, if the operator prefers, by granting them local access to its frequencies.”

- Access to the features enabled by network slicing, which will give telecom operators the ability to dedicate a portion of their 5G network in the 3.4 – 3.8 GHz band to certain players: “The new level of performance provided by 5G opens the way for innovative use cases in numerous vertical sectors of the economy. These “verticals” expect customised networks and products that satisfy their specific needs. To achieve this, Arcep is asking operators to activate the most innovative feature of 5G, namely network slicing, by 2023 at the latest.”

Arcep will ensure compliance with these obligations.