5G and Innovation

Which methods and conditions to apply to 5G frequency allocations?

Arcep launches a public consultation and calls on operators, local authorities and economic stakeholders to provide feedback

Paris, 26 October 2018

A disruptive generation, 5G must enable a jump in performance for mobile networks. It must improve speeds, shorten transmission time and increase the reliability of communications. In their 5G roadmap for France, the Government and Arcep set the target of a commercial rollout by 2020.

Frequency bands affected by new allocations: 3.4-3.8 GHz, 26 GHz and 1.4 GHz

To satisfy requirements and foster new uses, 5G will need to employ new frequency bands, particularly those on the upper end of the spectrum, to increase mobile networks’ capacity and datarates.

Today Arcep is launching public consultation to prepare for the allocation of new frequencies in the 3.4-3.8 GHz, 26 GHz and 1.4 GHz bands.

Arcep invites operators, equipment suppliers, local authorities, vertical market players and all interested parties to express their needs

5G is expected to be a major driving force behind society’s digitisation, by opening the way for innovation in a great many fields: virtual reality, autonomous and connected cars, smart cities, future manufacturing… An adaptive technology, it will be especially well suited to satisfying vertical sectors’ specific connectivity needs: different sectors of the economy such as energy, health, media, manufacturing, agriculture and automotive.

What methods and conditions to apply to the allocation of 5G frequencies?

The allocations could be based on unprecedented conditions and entirely new methods, to help foster new models and bolster innovation. The consultation asks questions on the following issues:

  • 5G performances and the applications it will enable: the aim is to explore how the improved network performance that 5G is expected to deliver (e.g. 10 times the speed, transmission times that are 10 times shorter and highly flexible networks thank to virtualisation and network slicing) will be a catalyst for new uses, and to understand how this new technology ties in with innovation and competitiveness;
  • requirements of the different types of player: the plethora of stakeholders that might want to have access to 5G from the outset, be they users or service providers, will necessarily cover a wide array of requirements in terms of performance and timetable. The consultation’s questions concern innovative and flexible means of accessing 5G networks;
  • the type and contents of future licences, notably the coverage obligations or obligations to meet vertical market needs they might carry: a set of obligations is being published for consultation, according to the different coverage performances expected of the frequency bands. Access mechanisms are also described in relation to vertical sectors’ needs;
  • quantity of spectrum available, band by band, and the allocation timetable: questions are posed for each of the candidate bands regarding the size of the blocks of spectrum to allocate, notably with respect to performance and availability, along with the possible timetable when the frequency bands are not fully available immediately across the entire country.

In light of the contributions it receives, Arcep will work to make 5G a major driving force for competitiveness and the development of new uses in France. The deadline for contributions to the public consultation is 19 December 2018.

Arcep will be holding a second consultation on the call or calls to tender, which it will then propose to the Government. The call for tenders could be issued in mid-2019.