Agnès Pannier-Runacher, France’s Secretary of State to the Minister for the Economy and Finance, and Mounir Mahjoubi, Secretary of State for Digital Affairs, together with the country’s Electronic Communications and Postal Regulatory Authority (Arcep), are issuing a call for the creation of 5G trial platforms in the 26 GHz band, which are open to third parties. Their aim: to enable all of the market’s stakeholders to seize the opportunities being opened up by this frequency band, and to identify new use cases enabled by these frequencies.
This call is aimed at:
- market players wanting to obtain 26 GHz-band frequencies to create open trial platforms (using small-scale 5G networks) and to open these platforms up to third parties;
- market players wanting to test their new uses cases, on all frequencies combined: innovative tech and service companies, including start-ups and vertical industry (health, energy, smart cities, etc.) players.
The 26 GHz band: uncharted territory for mobile networks
The next generation of mobile network, 5G is promising to deliver a jump in technological performance that paves the way for a host of innovative uses in a variety of economic sectors. Thanks to their considerable width, millimetre-wave (mmWave) frequency bands in particular are expected to enable unparalleled speeds and entirely new uses. Among them, the 26 GHz band was identified by the Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSPG) as the pioneer 5G band in Europe. The French government and Arcep are thus eager to foster testing in real-life situations. An added reason to encourage as many trials as possible: these millimetre-wave bands have never been used for mobile networks up to now.
Lifting 26 GHz band impediments: vital to fostering competitiveness and innovation
By providing innovative tech and service companies with access to these trial platforms, the Government and Arcep aim to remove two impediments to innovation: cost and having the technical skills needed to install these networks, notably for those players that are the least familiar with telecommunications. This use case testing is geared to allowing the French ecosystem to mature by having advance access to this frequency band. It will also deliver initial feedback for identifying the various types of innovative uses.
Why open up a 5G trial platform to outside parties?
In exchange for making their infrastructures available to third parties, “open 5G trial platforms” will be rewarded with:
- an authorisation to use 26 GHz band frequencies for a period of up to three years;
- a regulatory sandbox, allowing players to test their innovation under a temporarily relaxed regulatory framework;
- national and international exposure from the Government and Arcep.
Experts in the administrations involved (notably the concerned ministries, Arcep and the National Frequency Agency), will make their expertise available to the platforms to help the players with administrative procedures.
Inventory of future 5G use cases, all frequencies combined
As an added measure, the Government and Arcep will also be performing an inventory of future 5G use cases amongst innovative companies. This stock-taking will yield a better understanding of the scale of stakeholders’ needs, and so the ability to better support them in developing these uses, notably by facilitating their relationship with telecom industry players. The Industrial Strategy Committee (CSF) on Digital infrastructure, in tandem with other branches of the National Council for Industry (CNI), will also be called upon to mobilise its members, which include enterprises from all along the digital infrastructure value chain, to take potential 5G infrastructure users’ needs into account when designing their structural projects.
Procedure and timetable
The application procedures will be open from 31 January to 31 March 2019. This deadline is designed to ensure the clarity needed to prepare for future frequency band allocations.
- Do you want to test a 5G use case? Complete the form available at the following URL: https://www.demarches-simplifiees.fr/commencer/usages-potentiels-de-la-5g / A summary listing of the inventoried use cases will be produced, by sector of activity.
- Do you want to develop an open 5G trial platform? Complete the attached form and send it to 5G@arcep.fr. Applications will be examined in the order in which they are received.
The call being issued today is an integral part of a pro-innovation approach. By the same token, the Government and Arcep will work to ensure that future 5G frequency allocation procedure(s) serve to construct an environment in which French businesses can become increasingly competitive and innovation can thrive.
One more milestone in the 5G roadmap set out by the Government and Arcep
This joint initiative from the French Government and Arcep is an integral part of the roadmap published on 16 July 2018, and particularly the project to develop new uses. It comes to complete:
- The “5G pilot” window that Arcep opened in January 2018 which makes frequencies available to test use cases, and which enabled the emergence of platforms for testing 5G use cases in the 3.5 GHz band – such as the 5GEVE project, financed by Horizon 2020, and the 5G platform in Linas-Montlhéry dedicated to autonomous cars.
- The Industrial Strategy Committee (CSF) on Digital infrastructure, certified by the National Council for Industry (CNI) on 22 November 2018, which brings together French companies from along the entire digital infrastructure value chain to design structural projects, notably in the area of future 5G mobile networks, fixed ultrafast access and smart territories.