Paris, 4 May 2007
In the spring of 2006, ARCEP initiated an analysis and discussion process with sector players to establish the means of reusing 900 and 1800 MHz frequencies, which are currently being used for 2G, for 3G. The goal of this process was to meet a need expressed by Orange France and SFR, as permitted by their licences.
- Why deploy 3G in low bands? In order to provide geographical coverage of areas with low populations at a low cost and for better coverage inside buildings in urban areas
The principle of reusing these frequency bands for 3G services, beyond the deployments done in the 2.1 GHz band, had already been planned since the first UMTS applications procedures.
3G operators have requested the reuse of low bands. The 900 MHz band offers wave propagation characteristics which make their deployment much more attractive than the 2.1 GHz band. Because the 900 MHz frequency band is lower, it offers much greater ranges and better penetration within buildings.
- Available resources, players’ needs, possible frequency distribution diagrams: ARCEP prepares the conditions for reusing 900 MHz bands for 3G
So, it is within this framework that ARCEP is launching a public consultation today based on the results of the process underway for the past year.
In it, ARCEP presents available resources and an analysis of market needs, and requests the comments of interested parties on the possible division of 900 MHz frequencies among players.
This work takes into account the 8th March 2007 launch of the application procedure for the assignment of the fourth 3G licence. Two scenarios are proposed: the first hypothesis is that the fourth 3G licence will be assigned and will be based on a division among four 3G operators. The second is based on a use of 900 MHz frequencies by the current three 3G operators.
ARCEP will finalise the plan based on the responses it receives, and will announce the timetable and the chosen means for introducing 3G in the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz frequency bands.
- Providing visibility to operators and equipment manufacturers
This method is based on discussion and aims to give sector players—both operators and industry—good visibility on the regulatory means which might be chosen for the reuse of the 900 and 1800 MHz bands for 3G. This should allow them to initiate preparatory work so that 3G can be introduced in these bands as quickly as possible.
- Specifying the quantities of spectrum to be assigned to a fourth 3G operator in these bands
This public consultation also meets another objective.
If a fourth 3G candidate is designated, the frequency assignments of the existing three operators in the 900 and 1800 MHz bands will have to be modified in order to free up part of the spectrum for the new arrival, as is stipulated in their respective licences.
Therefore, parties interested in participating in the application procedure launched on 8th March 2007 for the assignment of the fourth 3G license need to be informed of this. ARCEP had indicated in the reasons for decision no. 2007-0177 that it would provide further information on the frequency provision timetable prior to the application deadline.
To download the public consultation (pdf - 231 Ko (pdf - 231 Ko) - )